County decides it should have new road facility in Princeton.

Mille Lacs County has decided to continue to having a main highway maintenance garage in Milaca and having a smaller garage in Princeton.
The Mille Lacs County Board passed a motion on April 7 to that effect and also a second motion appointing a committee to work with a firm named Contegrity on a concept and design for a Princeton maintenance shop. The new committee is to also recommend where that shop should be in Princeton. The committee will consist of Commissioners Tim Wilhelm and Roger Tellinghuisen, county maintenance director Joe Ahner, and one county public works employee.
Wilhelm, Tellinghuisen and some county workers involved in maintenance were on the committee that met in the last several months to study where the county should have its highway maintenance buildings. More than a year ago the county had a consulting firm come up with ideas for dealing with the aging and deteriorating county highway maintenance garage in the Milaca industrial park. The county didn’t adopt any of the options suggested  by the consultant, which included new construction and renovation, the board deciding the costs were too high.
During an earlier  workshop discussion on how to improve the county’s snow removal, it was suggested the county might consider building a highway maintenance facility at Pease. But the facilities committee decided against the Pease location.
The county has a garage on the north end of the city of Princeton where equipment is kept for winter plowing and where a sand and salt mixture is piled and loaded onto trucks for spreading.
Some months ago Wilhelm pushed the idea of the county selling its highway garage in Princeton to the city for use as residential lots and that the county would purchase the concrete building that was the former Princeton fire station.
The county and city were close to closing the deal, until the board decided not to take any action on where to have a county maintenance garage in Princeton until further study.
Wilhelm was asked last week if there is still the chance the county would do the land-swap deal involving the former fire station, and he said there is.
Tellinghuisen has objected to having the former fire station become a county garage, citing the fact that there isn’t room on that lot for piling sand and salt and that he didn’t think the senior citizens nearby would like the noise of the county snowplows going in and out.
Wilhelm maintains that the lack of room for sand and salt at the former fire station site should not be a reason to cancel out that site as a possible county snowplow building. If the county did buy that building for storing plow equipment, the overhead doors would have to be made larger, the county has determined.
The consensus of the study committee was that the current maintenance facility in Princeton is too small. The committee also suggested that the new site selected for Princeton should have room for a salt shed.
The study committee set a goal of construction a new Princeton facility in 2016.