Preston City Council hears National Trout Center annual update

By : 
PAULA BARNESS
NEWS LEADER

Jeff Broberg of the National Trout Center (NTC) gave the Preston City Council an update on the NTC's activities throughout the last year during the Monday, Nov. 5, council meeting.

Broberg first expressed his appreciation for the city's continued support of the National Trout Center.

“We take our responsibility very seriously and I think we're growing great programs here and having great success and better participation,” Broberg said.

One of the center's goals has been to build its online presence, which has been done with a weekly fishing report. According to Broberg, the report is read by over 400 people each week.

The center is also trying to focus not only on the anglers, but those accompanying the anglers.

“Part of the basis of what has been successful for us is the recognition that our clientele is not just anglers, in fact the majority of people coming to the center are people coming with the angler. It is an easy draw to get the anglers to come see us, but once we have interesting things in the center for everyone else we get a lot of enthusiasm, ” Broberg commented.

NTC received a sizable grant, $7,200 from Winona University, to sponsor citizen stream science volunteers.

“Our responsibility for that was to recruit up to 20 people to be volunteers for a program they are doing with automated samplers,” Broberg shared. “We are hoping that relationship continues to build and grow.”

“Promote the Float” is another program the center is working on, which focuses on taking the city's well-known float out to more community parades.

Other goals include extending the NTC's open season to include some dates in the winter, especially with the newly extended year-round trout fishing; expanding angler updates to be sent out through the year; adding another aquarium to highlight local species; expanding local outreach and field trips; they would like to begin holding an annual banquet; and a mobile outlet to allow them to hold more events throughout the region.

The group operating the center is now focused on fundraising efforts and, according to Broberg, members are confident they will meet their goal of $10,000 for the year.

The group is also “Asking the city to is to continue their support,” Broberg said.

Broberg shared he is proposing a total budget amount $67,290, which is an $8,000 increase. This is still subject to NTC board approval.

“It really is attracting people from all over and people appreciate having something to do off of the trail in Preston,” Broberg concluded.

St. Anthony Street vacation

According to City Administrator Joe Hoffman, in 2006 the council approved the vacation of St. Anthony Street between Valley Street and Highway 52.

Though the city received signed electric easements from the majority of property owners, they did not receive a signed easement from one property owner.

The current owner, Tom Kaase, has stated he is willing to sign such an easement.

The council advised city staff to continue the work from 2006 regarding the easements.

Other business

• The council accepted the $7,500 Livability Grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) on behalf of the Preston economic development authority (EDA). The goal of the grant is to continue work on creating and market housing developments within the city.

• The council received a request from Dominic Crawford to add a driveway approach to the east side of the home he purchased at 103 Valley St. NW.  The council approved the request.

• The 2019 contract for CEDA, which employees EDA Director Cathy Enerson, was approved. The contract includes a three percent ($882) increase totaling $30,293 and is split between two city entities, two-thirds from the EDA and one-third from Preston Public Utilities.