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Tourism on the rise in Minnesota

October 4, 2012

Commissioners 10-3-10
Christy Riley, recently elected vice president of Southern Minnesota Tourism, presented the tourism and marketing update for the area at the Murray County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, September 25. Travel and tourism grew 40 percent from 2000 to 2010. It is comparable to agriculture in its contributions to the gross state product. Explore Minnesota reported sales of more than $31 million a day with 235,000 full and part time jobs. Although Minnesota ranks 30th compared to other states in the state tourism office budget, it ranks ninth in generated tax receipts and 14th in generated payroll.

Riley also handed out the results of the Murray County website that had 27,480 visits to date this year. Most popular pages are the business directory, county departments, and job opportunities. There are 380 active users of the Facebook and twitter and county website feeds. The highest views are for updates on Highway 59 and the fair. Lake Shetek State Park was listed as sixth in the top Minnesota attractions for the southern region. She also said people are staying closer to home.

A public hearing was held for Healthy Homes, - Progress of Healthy Homes Grant program -From Small Cities. The program assists homeowners to rehabilitate and upgrade their homes. Loans are for 10 years and are forgiven on a pro-rated scale per year. Applications were made for 22 homes with most completed or will be by the year end.

The latest application is for Iona, Iona Township and Bondin Township. The comment was this is a very good program, however, more applications are needed for the rehabilitation of homes in the area stated above. Eligible fixes are for heating, windows, roofs, siding, safety concerns - handrails, sidewalks, etc. but not remodeling. Michelle Miranowski, director of Senior and Transport-ation coordinator, presented the transit consortium resolution. Murray, Pipestone, Nobles and Rock counties make up the Buffalo Ridge Transit system that would expand public transportation using existing access for everyone in the four counties. The system would expand public transportation using existing resources and create a seamless, coordinated transportation system. A route would connect the four counties up to four times each week for the residents.

The board reviewed the insurance cafeteria contribution in the budget in 2013. After considerable discussion with the insurance committee, employees and board members it was decided to leave the budget item as is.

The board accepted the resignation of Jennifer Hagedorn as congregate housing director at Sunrise Terrace effective October 8. Advertising for the position will begin immediately.

Gene Short spoke during the open forum session concerning the new district of 22. The district encompasses all of Rock, Pipestone, Lincoln and Murray Counties, two townships in Nobles with the exception of Wilmont and eight townships in Lyon County. The district takes effect on January 1, 2013. September 25 was designated as National Voter Registration Day with a reminder for all eligible voters to be certain they are registered for the upcoming election.

The board’s onsite inspection of County Ditch #22 in Shetek Township was postponed to October 16.

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