Cass County Board: Special legislation needed to sell portion of Ah-Gwah-Ching

Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District seeks to build a special education school on the former state hospital property.

Cass County Courthouse

WALKER -- It will take special state legislation for Cass County to sell a portion of the county’s Ah-Gwah-Ching property to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District without charging market value for the property, Administrator Joshua Stevenson reported to the county board Tuesday, March 3.

The school district wants to build a Level IV special education school on the property. The school would serve children with autism, emotional/behavioral and mental health disorders.

The state law change would be to the terms the state set when the title transferred from the state to the county for $1. Future uses specified at that time were county government buildings and health care services.

The change likely will be added to the state bonding bill this session, County Administrator Joshua Stevenson said, meaning it will be dependent upon the Legislature passing a bonding bill and with this portion in it.

The county board passed a resolution Tuesday to declare the site surplus to what the county needs to develop a courthouse campus.


The resolution also states the county’s intent to sell the 9.4 acre portion of its Ah-Gwah-Ching property to the school district at no fee “to implement the redevelopment and reuse of the former Ah-Gwah-Ching site in Walker.”

The property has been vacant since 2008 after the county had the state hospital buildings demolished and seeded grass on the land.

In other business Tuesday, the county board:

Learned from the assessor’s office that Cass County foreclosures in 2019 remained the same as 2018 at 25 a year.

The 2019 foreclosures included 14 homesteads, one agricultural, eight cabins and two commercial properties. Nineteen were valued under $200,000, with four between $200,000 and $400,000 and one each at $400,000 to $600,000 and $600,000 to $1 million.

The foreclosures were widely scattered across the county, with no one area seeing a major cluster.

Arms-length sales of properties increased from 1,121 in 2018 to 1,152 in 2019. July through October continued to be the peak property sales sale months.

Approved personnel rules changes to put in writing the county’s practice of checking with the national clearing house records for background checks on highway department employees who are required to have a commercial driver’s license.


The commercial driver’s license drug and alcohol policy is an appendix to the county personnel rules.

Approved the 2020 Aquatic Invasive Species Prevention and Management Plan as a continuation of the existing plan.

Approved replacing the first assistant county attorney position with a chief deputy county attorney position.

Approved continuing to hire Mark Beard at the same rate as the last seven years to oversee construction projects on existing and new county facilities.

Approved a contract with Stellher Human Services to provide adults and children with home-based mental health services and family counseling at $65.92 to $73.85 per hour, not to exceed $25,000 in 2020.

Approved a contract with Prairie Support Services for adult and child guardianship and conservatorship services, not to exceed $40,000 in 2020.

Accepted a donation from Sons of American Legion Squadron 202 to Brainerd Medical Supply to be used for Cass County veterans’ medical equipment needs.

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