YMC chairman finds condition of Oraas Park ‘pathetic’

GRANITE FALLS — Yellow Medicine County Board Chairman Gary Johnson blamed the “pathetic” condition of Oraas Park near Hanley Falls on the decision to not hire a extra highway department technician.

The commissioners decided against hiring the extra technician as a money-saving move. Johnson believes that decision has come back to haunt them because of recent complaints over the park located west of Hanley Falls along U.S. Highway 59.

“I even went out there on a Saturday, and it hadn’t been cleaned up for two weeks. It looked pathetic,” Johnson said.

He said that he had had complaints that the mowing hadn’t been done, the bathrooms needed cleaning and that a huge tree branch had fallen down in the yard that hadn’t been moved.

“I called Larry (Stoks, maintenance foreman), and it got taken care of but the point was, a guy was pulled off Parks to help with the highway department, and (park) things got left undone. I told you it would happen,” Johnson said.

He added that he had been getting “chewed out” about the road ditches not getting mowed as well.

“In all fairness there have been compliments, too,” County Administrator Peg Heglund said.

Heglund also mentioned this was an unexpected, rare occasion when the highway department was temporarily shorthanded so that the parks tech was pulled to aid the highway department. But that did not appease Johnson, however.

“We talked about this possibility when we decided not to hire a new tech,” Johnson said.

“If this is going to continue to be an issue, I can talk to Larry (about it),” Heglund said.

“Hazel Run School isn’t getting done, either. Maybe we should hire two part-timers next year,” Johnson said.