Airport dominates Payneville Township's annual meeting

This article submitted by Stephanie Everson on 03/18/97.

Paynesville Township's annual meeting was held last Tuesday evening in the township hall of the civic arena building east of Paynesville. Several reports were given, such as the Paynesville Landfill, area road maintenance, the Paynesville Police report, the new snowplow, senior dining, Paynesville's upcoming hockey teams, and Paynesville Area Health Care systems hospital board update; but the topic that spurred most of the discussion and debate Tuesday evening was the possibility of making additions to the Paynesville Airport.

Currently, Paynesville's airport operates under a private license because the runway is 200 feet too short to qualify for a public one under the Minnesota Department of Transportation code. If the air strip was to be added onto as is, it would run into not only Highway 23, but also a local farm place. The proposed airstrip would be moved in location, and run in a more westerly direction, approximately 2200 feet, which would also move the airport onto more township land.

Jeremy Brown, a young pilot and flight instructor, started off by giving a report of the airport committee. The additions to the airports in the cities of Moorhead, Anoka, and Owatonna have done a great deal to serve and also build their communities by bringing in more business from pilots and passengers to area businesses like the motels and restaurants, as well as offering a closer flight option for area residents. Paynesville also offers layover entertainment options such as Lake Koronis and the golf course.

With Paynesville being 30 miles from the closest airports in Sauk Centre, Willmar and St Cloud, bringing the city's airstrip up to code would be a great advantage to the city of Paynesville.

Steve Whitcomb reported on the possible four-point project the aviation division of Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc., Paynesville's engineering firm is offering: to develop a four-point plan which would include, surveying, further identifying the sight plan for the proposed runway, and developing an estimated cost plan. It was stressed that the Paynesville City Council had not commissioned anyone to go ahead and build the new airport, but rather to study possibilities at this point. The proposed total four-point engineering package would cost from $9-10 thousand, but if accepted, the city wouldn't be tied into the entire package, but would rather proceed step by step. "We'd love to have the township involved from the very beginning at any point they are comfortable," Whitcomb said. "Any support you can give us will be greatly appreciated." Paul Bugbee added, "An airport provides another potential for our community."

No motion was made either way by the township.

In other topics, Paynesville's landfill has been capped with a layer of plastic, covered with dirt, and seeded with grass; and everything is up to Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The EPA will monitor wells, and from now on, the land will be controlled by the State of Minnesota.

Three miles of the Roseville line road, which runs north from Highway 23 to north of Highway 55, has been rebuilt. The cost of $39,000 to rebuild the road was split between Roseville and Paynesville townships. Bill Drager mentioned that the condition of the Roseville Road is still "all but impassable." Olson said it will improve this spring when more graveling will be done.

According to the police report given by Bill Drager, most of Paynesville Township's crime is down from last year. Among those reported, there were 111 traffic arrests, compared to 120 last year, two burglaries compared to 19 last year, and 31 thefts compared to 34. Unfortunately, reported assaults and nonsufficient funds checks are up.

On the subject of the new snowplow, responding to reports last year that township roads were sometimes not accessible, the township purchased a snowplow. Adrian Louis took the state approved test for driving the truck and has been operating it this winter. With their own snowplow, Paynesville Township has paid $12 per hour as compared to $41 per hour when they used the grader. "Adrian did an exceptional job for his first year and the winter we had," added Virgil Kulzer.

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