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Commissioners consider ‘town square’ proposal

The McLeod County Board gave its OK Tuesday to allow Glencoe Area Vitalization Initiative (GAVI) to develop plans to convert a lot northwest of the courthouse into a town square.
Commissioner Doug Krueger, who brought the proposal forward, said the county’s action will allow GAVI to work under the umbrella of the Southwest Initiative Foundation (SWIF) to pursue grants and accept donations for the project.
Krueger said GAVI hopes the project will provide “a billboard” to attract people to the community. Potential plans may be for a band shell and several picnic tables. The goal is to provide a place for people to gather downtown.
But the proposal drew considerable concern from both County Board members and County Attorney Mike Junge.
Junge noted that the county bought the property, located on the southeast corner of Hennepin Avenue and 11th Street, from the city of Glencoe, and tore down the former city hall that was located there. Junge estimated the county spent about $100,000 to buy the property and raze the building.
“You paid dear money for that space,” said Junge.
Junge said the county acquired the property for potential growth of the courthouse.
“It may not happen in five years, or even 10 years, but at some point, we’re going to need more courtrooms,” said Junge, in particular for family and child protection cases.
Krueger said the members of GAVI are aware of the issue, and the plan is to lease the space from the county.
“They know it’s not a permanent fixture,” said Krueger. “If the county needs it (the property) back, it goes back.”

For more, see the Oct. 7 print edition of The Chronicle.