State legislature awards Olmsted County $23M through bonding, cash bills

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Published: May. 23, 2023 at 1:37 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – On Monday, the Minnesota legislature approved $23 million in state capital investment dollars to help fund three Olmsted County initiatives.

The three initiatives include:

  • $10 million toward construction of a materials recovery facility (MRF).
  • $8 million toward an exhibition center at Graham Park.
  • $5 million toward an interchange at the intersection of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 44 and Trunk Highway (TH) 14.

“This is very exciting news for Olmsted County. We have been working to secure funding for these much-needed initiatives for some time. We are thrilled the Minnesota legislature saw the value in these three projects and how they will benefit Southeast Minnesota. We would also like to thank our local lawmakers for their continued advocacy for these projects.”

Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Chair Gregg Wright

The objectives of the MRF are to remove recyclable and noncombustible materials from the waste stream to increase recycling and delay the need for expansion of the Olmsted Waste-to-Energy Facility (OWEF). The new MRF will expand upon Olmsted County’s current integrated solid waste management system by reclaiming materials and removing problematic items from the waste stream.

The new 30,000-square-foot MRF will be located on the south side of the OWEF which currently accepts waste from Olmsted and Dodge counties. The total cost of the project is $32.5 million.

Olmsted County sought funds to construct a regional, multi-use exhibition center at Graham Park to serve important regional and community needs, drive year-round activity, and generate new economic opportunity. A new exhibition center is intended to replace some of the animal agriculture buildings and become the primary flat floor event venue at Graham Park.

The exhibition center will accommodate a wide variety of community events, ethnic, cultural celebrations and festivals, and entertainment and leisure activities to further support the increased demand.

The Interchange at CSAH 44/TH 14 project consists of a proposed interchange at CSAH 44 and TH 14, and an associated flyover structure at 7th Street NW. Infrastructure elements include four bridge structures, retaining walls, pavement, lighting, and active transportation facilities. Constructing this interchange and the associated flyover structure at 7th Street NW will address three main goals: safety, mobility, and capacity/growth.

Construction of this interchange is expected to cost $55 million. Olmsted County has applied for a federal RAISE grant as well as funding through the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Corridors of Commerce program to help secure additional funding for this project.

The county does not yet know when the $23 million in funds will arrive.

However, Olmsted County will be working closely with its partners at the state to finalize plans for each of these initiatives.