YMC Board approves Canby bus garage construction

CANBY — Plans for a new regional Community Action bus garage in Canby moved forward in the past week on a 3-2 vote from the Yellow Medicine County Board of Commissioners.

The board approved a $242,763 construction cost (which includes the purchase of land) at its Aug. 13 meeting with commissioners Glen Kack, Ron Antony and Greg Renneke voting in favor. Votes against approval were cast by Commissioners Gary Johnson and John Berends.

Yellow Medicine County Administrator Angie Steinbach said Thursday that the majority voted to approve dimensions of the building that include 1,320 square feet of county highway department space. A smaller alternative would have featured only the space that Prairie Five Community Action needs for its bus garage operations.

The highway department will use the additional space in conjunction with its existing five county shop facilities in Granite Falls, Wood Lake, Clarkfield, Canby and Porter.

“The only question was the size of the facility, and whether it should involve an area that will be used by the county,” Steinbach said. “There’s been consistent support for the idea of having a Prairie Five garage in Canby.”

The facility will be located on the north side of the city next to the Yellow Medicine County Fairgrounds. It is one of two development proposals under consideration in the fairgrounds area, along with plans for a regional recreation and event center coordinated by the Canby Sportsman’s Club.

At their July 23 meeting, county commissioners endorsed two steps designed to facilitate construction of both the bus garage and event center.

The first will allow for the installation of new water lines that run north to the garage, then underneath the fairgrounds horse arena to the Sportsman’s Club property.

The board also authorized County Attorney Keith Helgeson to review insurance liability factors for a triangle-shaped parcel of land next to the fairgrounds race track. It offers a prime parking location for the proposed recreation/event center, which means information is needed to decide whether it’s best to transfer ownership to the Sportsman’s Club or to let it remain as county property.

Steinbach said insurance considerations were reviewed at the Aug. 13 board meeting, but that no action will be taken until definite plans take shape for construction on the Sportsman’s Club property.

Club President Dave Verhelst said project planners would like to break ground in either 2020 or 2021, depending on how soon funds are available. The fundraising process includes goals for private contributions and membership sales.

“We’ve done what’s needed to set the stage for both projects,” Steinbach said. “What happens with the triangular parcel depends partly on how the Sportsman’s Club project takes shape.”

As part of the discussion process prior to the approval of a water line extension, it was noted that it’s much more cost effective to extend the water service in a single installation process rather than doing it in more than one phase.

The installed lines will be beneficial to the fairgrounds area under any set of development circumstances. They’ll provide an opportunity for better fire protection for both the fairgrounds and the Sportsman’s Club property, which currently contains a clubhouse and an outdoor shooting range.

“Now’s the time to do it,” Kack said, prior to the board’s vote in favor of the water line extension. “We’re already putting in a new line for the bus garage, so it makes sense to do everything at once.”