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County may invoke eminent domain

Goodhue County officials will begin eminent domain proceedings to ensure a grading project along County Road 1 begins next year on time.

The county has negotiated with 37 landowners along County Road 1 between 285th Street and Featherstone Road in order to acquire small strips of land for the project.

Officials have yet to come to an agreement with one landowner due to legal issues, said Public Works Director Greg Isakson.

Though eminent domain proceedings will begin against the landowner, negotiations will continue and county officials are hopeful a judge's involvement is not needed.

Government entities can use eminent domain to acquire private property for public use without compensation.

Beginning eminent domain proceedings will enact a "quick take" process, giving the county possession of needed parcels within 90 days.

Possession of that right of way is required for the county to open project bids. The sooner bids are opened, Isakson said, the more competitive the prices will be.

"This is a very large grading project, and staff is concerned that the project may not be completed in one construction season if the bid opening date is delayed," Isakson wrote in a memo to the board.

Commissioner Ron Allen, who represents part of Red Wing, said closing portions of County Road 1 in front of S.B. Foot Tanning Co. any longer than necessary is not an option.

"I'd really like to see us go ahead with this," Allen said. "If we delay, it will take two seasons and I don't think we want to close that road down two seasons."