Conservation Board discusses banquet, building project

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The Emmet County Nature Center Foundation and Emmet County Conservation Board discussed the upcoming March 19 banquet and Nature Center building project at their Thursday, Jan. 6 meeting.
Conservation Board Director Eric Anderson told foundation members the banquet will be held as planned on March 19 at the Estherville Elks Lodge. The banquet was canceled the previous two years due to COVID.
The new Nature Center building is already in use, with the first archery practice held Jan. 4, Anderson said.
“The kids are excited,” said Naturalist Ashley Reed. Reed said the building allows archers to shoot in one round, with practices on Tuesday and Thursday. Reed said there were 14 during the first practice from 4-5 p.m. with five more for the 5:15-6:15 practice, with more participants expected.
Anderson asked foundation members if they had any ideas for a name for the building. He said the foundation needed to beware of naming the center as a classroom or education center since it would fall under stricter insurance requirements.
Foundation member Deb Zoellner said the building should be named before the March 19 banquet, and Anderson agreed.
Anderson said Reed had also determined how tournaments could be held at the new building. Foundation members also discussed installation of a security system.
In the Conservation Board meeting that followed, Anderson said an abstract was being drawn up on the Peterson Point property.
Anderson also discussed the 2022-23 budget. He said he had penciled in a 6 percent raise for salaried employees and $2 hourly for seasonal.
Board member Kim Swanson asked about higher wattage at campsites and a waterline for campers at Tuttle Lake.
Anderson also discussed replacing the Wolden truck and Reed’s vehicle. He said $60,000 was budgeted for both vehicles.
Anderson also discussed damage from the recent windstorm.
“I was extremely impressed with secondary roads again,” Anderson said of cleanup.
In the camping report, Anderson noted $24,270 to date for Wolden Campground, $16,025 for Tuttle Lake and $610 for Iowa Lake for $40,905 total.
Anderson said $227,000 had been spent to date on the Nature Center building, with $300,000 budgeted.
The next Emmet County Nature Center Foundation meeting will be 9 a.m. Feb. 3, with the conservation board meeting to follow.

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