The Punxsutawney Phil groundhog may have seen his shadow Wednesday, Feb. 2 forecasting six more weeks of winter, but county crews were seeing raccoons last week on Keystone Avenue.
As crews cut trees and cleared brush west of Le Mars in preparation for road improvements, 11 raccoons were found, County Engineer Tom Rohe told supervisors. The trees had to be cut as soon as possible because Mid-American Energy will be putting in utility poles in the next week or so. Roads will be widened and graded for paving in 2006.
About 60 trees were cut, Rohe told supervisors. Stumps that are left can be ground in the spring. Cutting down the trees allows the utility lines to be installed, he explained.
Keystone Avenue, west of the current U.S. Highway 75, and 200th Street will be the site for corporate headquarters leased by Wells' Dairy, Inc. The building will be owned by the Le Mars Business Initiative Corporation.
The site is in an urban renewal area surrounded by the Le Mars bypass of Highways 60/75 to be completed in 2006. A TIF (tax increment financing) district by the City of Le Mars and Plymouth County will provide for some of the improvements.
Le Mars and Plymouth County received RISE (Revitalize Iowa's Sound Economy) grant funding which totals $1,937,174 to improve roads around the future corporate headquarters.
Rohe told supervisors last week that he keeps track of all expenses the county incurs for improvements in the area so that reimbursements may be made from the TIF district funding.