Plans for Mushroom Festival moving forward

By Trudy Balcom

Last week, the McGregor City Council learned that Carl Hexom’s plans to create a morel mushroom festival are moving forward. Hexom owns the Silver Dollar Saloon located on Main Street.

Hexom presented a preliminary schedule for the event, and a sketched map of the layout. Hexom has requested use of an adjoining city parking lot for the event. 

Hexom told the council that a nationally-known morel mushroom hunting expert, Chris Matherly, will be attending the festival, which is scheduled for May 11-12.

The council also approved a not-to-exceed bid of $32,399 from K Construction for the long awaited replacement of the 6th Street bridge. The engineering plans for the bridge, completed by County Engineer Rafe Koopman, calls for a beam-in- slab design. Construction could begin as early as May or June, and will only take about one week to complete.

The council also took the final step to complete bonding for several major city projects and to refinance existing debt. The city was not successful in securing a Community Development Block Grant for sanitary sewer reconstruction, so that cost was added to the funds to be borrowed. Michael Hart, of Northland Securities, informed the council that the current low interest rates would allow the city to save $15,442 in interest on the 2008 debt. The council approved borrowing $1,175,000 at an interest rate of 1.65 percent. Funds will be used for sanitary sewer and water service updates as well as riverfront improvements. The council has been planning for the bonding for about a year; the debt is scheduled to be paid off by 2023.

The council also spent some time discussing sewer and water projects that will be undertaken with the borrowed funds. The city is hoping to begin the work this construction season. 

City Public Works Supervisor Brian Hamann told the council that work will begin on streets near the Bunge grain elevator, on First St. and B St., so that they may be completed before the busy fall harvest season begins at the elevator.

Fifth St., Sixth St., Seventh St., and C Street are also on the list for new sewer and water service. Bids for the project have not yet come before the council.

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