Looming Business Expansion Projects Tied To “What To Do With Water”

By Fred Arnold Telescope Publisher

When the rubber meets the road it’s all about the water. What to do with it when it rains and where to send it.

On Monday members of the Belleville city council heard a report from Ken Johnson of the engineering firm Campbell and Johnson of Concordia. Council members had asked Johnson to conduct an engineering study of water drainage and option on land adjacent to Love’s Travel Center.

“Water in that area will drain from the northeast to southwest and will run from approximately 63 acres,” he told council members.

Among the options discussed, council members seemed most interested in a detention pond which would promote evaporation as well as allow runoff from the area to work its way to a nearby creek.

“That area will run a lot of water during one of those 12- inch rains like Scandia got last year,” Johnson said.

City leaders have pushed for the engineering study as several economic development and or expansion projects have been tied to the area in recent months. Council members were playing cards pretty close to the vest and were not specific about who or how many might be interested in locating to the growth area on US 81.

“The one thing I can say for sure,” councilman Mike Palmquist said, “is that we need to get this study done before the people interested take their money and go someplace else.”

Fly In The Ointment
While the Concordia engineer said the issues of water drainage could be easily solved, one local landowner said he would put the brakes on the project if it was not handled to his satisfaction.

Belleville resident Ben Dreesen, who owns the farm ground bordering the southern portion of the proposed development area, told the city not so fast.

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“There are already ruts that are four-foot, six foot and 10 foot deep along my farm from the runoff,” he said. “I am not going to lose any more ground to that.”

Dreesen, who said he is hoping to pass his farm on to his kids, suggested the city make plans for the water runoff to go underground of his farm.

You better be thinking about that because I am not going to permit that,” he said. “I am not going to lose anymore farm ground.

The engineer told the council it would be fairly easy to address Dreesen’s issues using a detention dam.

”Of course, we want to work with the area land owners,” Belleville Mayor Adam Robertson said. ‘We’re going to do this project the right way and not cut any corners.”

City leaders took no action on the engineering report but agreed that timing was of the essence. The matter will be placed on the Jan. 25th agenda for expected action.”

“We’re going to get this done,” councilman Mike Palmquist said. “There is a lot happening up in that area and we are going to see things really go in that area.”

In other action before the council:

  • Voted to elect Mike Palmquist as council president.
  • Approved an allocation of $15,000 for sidewalk upgrades in Belleville.
  • Agreed to increase the Business Incentive Grant to $5,000 for 2021.
  • Declined to sell a city-owned airport hangar to Heinen Brothers. The city was, however, open to a long-term lease. This is the second time the aerial spray applicators have approached the city about selling the hanger.
  • Granted 90-day extensions on nuisance abatements to the downtown building at 1610 20th Street and 910 M Street.