Loop project: City committee approves partnershipThe Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee approved Tuesday a Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. request to partner with Great River Energy in forming the Spiritwood Energy Park Association. The project includes a loop railroad line and an industrial park at the site of the GRE power plant.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
The Jamestown Finance and Legal Committee approved Tuesday a Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. request to partner with Great River Energy in forming the Spiritwood Energy Park Association. The project includes a loop railroad line and an industrial park at the site of the GRE power plant.
The formation of SEPA is contingent on funding by March 31, 2012, for the Dakota Spirit AgEnergy plant, which will serve as the anchor tenant in the industrial park, according to Sandra Broekema, manager of business development for GRE.
The JSDC investment in the industrial park includes 100 acres of land and $3.75 million, according to Connie Ova, JSDC CEO. The JSDC would own 71 percent of the park. Income to cover the cost of the railroad loop line and other features of the industrial park would come from land leases to new corporations building in the area and user fees from the railroad loop.
The committee unanimously approved the project with a 90 percent city cost share and 10 percent paid by Stutsman County. The issue moves to the consent agenda for the next City Council meeting.
The Jamestown Public Works Committee approved additional funding for equipment and personnel to handle snow removal on the route leading to the Jamestown Regional Medical Center. The action forwards the proposal to the City Council as part of the consent agenda for the Dec. 5 meeting.
“Most normal conditions this would not be an issue,” said Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer. “But three of four days a year when interstate is closed, this is going to be a problem.”
The Public Works Committee also left the emergency route up to the street department’s discretion. The two proposed routes were the section of Interstate 94 between the 17th Street Southeast exit to the bypass exit or frontage road on the north side of I-94 to the bypass exit.
Schwartzkopf said the frontage road offered the safer alternative although Ramone Gumke, city councilman, disagreed.
“During blizzard conditions it’s a disorienting condition,” Gumke said. “The interstate is a more traveled road that more people are familiar with.”
With the decision left to the street department, Schwartzkopf said it would keep the frontage road open even if I-94 is closed. He suggested more equipment was needed to accomplish this.
“Because of the hospital, whichever route we’re going, we’re going to need additional equipment,” he said.
“We have to regardless,” he said. “That’s where the hospital is and we need to maintain access to it through any weather. I move to authorize any additional funding needed to keep road access to the hospital.”
The motion passed unanimously with Councilman Pat Nygaard absent.
Schwartzkopf said the street department would meet to determine the type of equipment and what additional staffing would be needed.
The Finance and Legal Committee also discussed cost allocation plans for the Stutsman County Law Enforcement Center. The LEC is currently deficit spending, according to Casey Bradley, Stutsman County auditor.
Mayor Katie Andersen suggested meetings between herself and a member of the County Commission to discuss possible funding options.
“This not an action item but informational,” Bradley said. “But a plan needs to be made in time for the budgeting process next year.”
In other business, the City Council, in a special meeting, awarded the contract for placing a water main under the James River at 13th Street Northeast to K & H Electrical of Linton. It was the apparent low bidder at $85,900 for the project.
The current water main under the river leaks, which has left the northwest part of Jamestown served by a single water line. A failure could leave the area without water in the event, according to Schwartzkopf. He also said the damage was likely related to the high river flows of the last years but funding for the project from the Federal Emergency Management Agency had not been confirmed.
“Due to delays at FEMA, they do not have a definitive answer as whether this project could be covered as part of the disasters,” he said. “We need to proceed and argue like holy heck if it is denied.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com