Grey Cloud hopes for stimulus money dashedGrey Cloud Island Township officials hoped that its application for federal stimulus money to install a culvert under “First Fill” would be funded in 2010, but it was rejected.
By: Judy Spooner, South Washington County Bulletin
Grey Cloud Island Township officials hoped that its application for federal stimulus money to install a culvert under “First Fill” would be funded in 2010, but it was rejected.
Town Board Member Paul Schoenecker told the board at the Aug. 10 meeting that the application, among 20 others, was rejected by the Metropolitan Council because it concerned water quality.
The council is looking for highway-related projects, said Dick Adams, town board chair.
The township wants to put a culvert under County Road 75 close to the township border. First Fill was built up after the Mississippi River flood in 1965.
The “fill” blocks river water from entering Grey Cloud Channel. At the time, the river was more polluted than the channel, but now the opposite is true, according to residents living on the channel.
It’s choked with Eurasian Milfoil, according to Tom Bell, retired biology teacher and township resident.
The culvert would allow river water to “scour” the channel, but milfoil would probably still have to be harvested, according to Bell.
The township has been actively seeking funding for the culvert for about five years.
Two years ago, University of Minnesota engineering students designed a culvert system, at no cost to the township, with the cost estimated at $300,000.
So the township will continue to look elsewhere for the money.
Some good news came from going though the grant-request process, Schoenecker said.
Board members agreed to apply for money from Washington County’s Land and Legacy Fund, funded by $20 million from a taxpayer-approved referendum in 2006. Projects are approved on a competitive bid basis, to buy land for preservation and some projects concerning water quality.
The drawback for the smallest Minnesota township is that it would have to match the money approved by the county, Schoenecker said.
Going through the Metropolitan Council process was not a waste of time, said board member Pam Dupre. “It was good practice,” she said.
The township will also apply to the South Washington County Watershed District for a project that the township believes would improve channel water quality and add a way for those canoeing to pass under First Fill.
If approved, money would be levied on watershed residents in the part of the district that contains some land in Cottage Grove and Woodbury, all of the township, St. Paul Park and Newport, according to Schoenecker.
“We need to get on the project list,” Adams said.