Weather Forecast


UPDATE: Final Minnesota legislative bills may be passed in middle of the night

Three area projects among Dayton's recommendations

Three area projects were listed in Gov. Mark Dayton’s $986 million bonding proposal that was released Wednesday.

The projects are:

• Little Falls truck station — Completion of this project will cost $3.58 million. Additional funding is needed to address unanticipated construction costs and redefined Minnesota Department of Transportation district and regional operational needs.

• Staples campus renovation — The governor recommended $4.581 million to renovate the Staples campus of Central Lakes College. The governor’s proposal calls for $3,054,000 in general obligation bonds with $1,527,000 in user financing.

• College renovations — Dayton recommended $1.385 million for renovations to meet training needs at MN State Community and Technical College in Fergus Falls and Wadena. The proposal calls for $923,000 in general obligation bonds and $462,000 in user financing. A collaborative Center for Student and Workforce Success will be established in Fergus Falls. Renovations will combine classroom and new library space on the Wadena campus.

At CLC’s Staples campus, core student service functions will be altered in size and reconfigured into a one-stop service center. Additionally, the facility energy systems will be upgraded to include photovoltaic solar panels and energy efficient windows and doors.

Not specifically included in the governor’s proposal was funding for the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport to construct an extension of the water and sanitary sewer service and to replace one mile of the existing sewer line. Ward has introduced bonding legislation for the airport project. Radinovich is a co-author.

Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point expressed her disappointment at that omission, claiming it revealed the governor’s skewed priorities when the Brainerd airport project was excluded while funding for the Nicollet Mall and event centers were included.

“I’ll fight hard for that one,” she said of the Brainerd airport project. “That’s a really good project for this area.”

Rep. John Ward, DFL-Baxter, and Rep. Joe Radinovich, DFL-Crosby, in a news release noted the governor’s proposal also includes $40 million for MnSCU Higher Education Asset Preservation and Repair which could potentially include funding for the Central Lakes College Brainerd campus to repair the roof on the library/fine arts building and replace air handlers, HVAC distribution and controls for the business and industry area.

They also said the governor’s proposal includes $5 million for state parks and trails, money which could fund an expansion of the Cuyuna Lakes Trail and the Camp Ripley-State Veterans Trail. Radinovich is the chief author of the legislation expanding the Cuyuna Lakes Trail and Ward is the chief author of the Camp Ripley-State Veterans Trail bill. Ward is also vice chair of the House Capital Investment Committee and chief author of last year’s bonding bill.

Ward also introduced legislation for the Baxter Isle Drive extension, Brainerd Veterans Nursing Home and Pequot Lakes Wastewater Treatment Facility Spray Irrigation Replacement.

Rep. Mark Anderson, R-Lake Shore, was out of town but on his way home Wednesday night and said that he had not yet had time to look at the governor’s proposals.

Rep. Ron Kresha, R-Little Falls, could not be reached for comment Wednesday night on the governor’s proposals.

MIKE O’ROURKE may be reached at 855-5860 or Follow on Twitter at

Mike O'Rourke
Mike O'Rourke began his career at the Brainerd Dispatch in 1978 as a general assignment reporter. He was named city editor in 1981 and associate editor in 1999. He covers politics and writes features and editorials.
(218) 855-5860