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Cass County: Board approves steps for CSAH 77 project in Lake Shore

Cass County Engineer David Enblom obtained county board approval Tuesday, May 17, to begin right-of-way acquisition for the repaving project planned for County State Aid Highway 77 through Lake Shore in 2017.

In conjunction with the county road project, the city of Lake Shore plans to develop a walking/biking trail adjacent to the road.

Commissioner Neal Gaalswyk expressed concern about the possibility that eminent domain

proceedings might be used if any landowner opposes right-of-way acquisition. He said he does

not oppose eminent domain for roads, but is opposed to using it for trails.

Enblom said the county's project involves only the road. The trail is the city's project, so it will be a city choice whether or not to use eminent domain, which is the taking of land for a public purpose with "fair compensation."

May 17, the county board agreed this discussion should continue in the city-county committee that has been involved in planning the joint project. Gaalswyk serves as a board representative on that committee.

The county board toured CSAH 20 before meeting May 17 at Ansel Town Hall on that road. Enblom said CSAH 20 is scheduled for major reconstruction in 2019. That road serves as a primary route between Pine River and Sebeka.

The asphalt surface is 28 years old, but the road bed is 60 years old, Enblom said. The culverts are old metal ones, which have rusted. Some collapsed over time, he said.

The road surface gets a lot of sun, which tends to make asphalt brittle, he added.

On the paving and conversion of about 3 miles of town roads in Maple and Loon Lake

townships to a county road, Maple supervisors reported May 17 their voters approved committing up to $250,000 toward the project at their annual meeting this spring.

Loon Lake supervisors reported their electors also voted to support the concept, but that Loon Lake would like a more definite idea of the costs and would like more input from their

voters than they received from the few people who attended their annual meeting.

Enblom estimated the total project cost at about $900,000, but said that could go up or down over the next three years before the project is done, based on the price of oil. Usually, the

county splits the costs 50/50 with townships in projects like this, he said, adding he would be willing to look at a slightly different split if costs ran too high for the towns to handle.

Also at issue is the fact Loon Lake will need to purchase some right-of-way from a private property owner to flatten one sharp curve in that township, Enblom said.

A committee composed of county commissioners Bob Kangas and Gaalswyk, county

highway officials and township representatives will continue to pursue more information on the

proposed project.

This road turns into a paved road in Crow Wing County to bring residents to Pequot Lakes

from areas west of that city.