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City hears Vista Sand’s proposal for sand mine

GLENWOOD CITY — The City Council listened to the proposed agreement with Vista Sand over the development of a frac sand mine just south of the city limits.

Anders Helquist, an attorney representing Vista Sand addressed the City Council at their regular meeting Monday night at the community center. Helquist said that he did not have any document for the council but spoke at length about Vista Sand proposed developers agreement with the City and gave an update with information on how Vista Sand would work with the city. The proposed sand mine site is located in the Town of Glenwood, but the City has not yet received any type of request for annexing the land from the property owners.

Helquist talked about the issue of community protection and said, “Vista Sand has been working for a year and a half in this community, we have listen to community concerns.”  He went on to say that they want to have some certainty for the city and for Vista Sands.

He discussed the installation of two “air quality” environmental stations that would exceed state standards in air monitoring. One would be installed near Downing and the other would be placed on the north side of County Highway G, on city property between the mine site and the school.

He spoke about guarantees that Vista Sand would offer to people that live in the area. He noted that the private water wells would be covered by their guarantee and said to council person Crystal Booth that her private well on the city’s north side would be covered. He also said that they would also guarantee property values for owners near the site.

Helquist said that the city ordinance requires a one hundred foot set back and he said at the meeting that all mineral extraction would have at least a 500-foot set back.

He addressed the monetary rewards that Vista Sand would offer to the City. He spoke about attending the City’s Budget Hearing last week and spoke of the Paula Brandt’s concern about the library in a death spiral. “This is a positive opportunity for the city,” Helquist said. “What we are proposing is a per ton royalty fee to be paid to the city,” noting that it would be greater than what they had offered to the Town of Menomonie on the proposed loading site along the railroad just east of Knapp.”

“We want to make it as close to a zero cost to the city by addressing legal and engineering fees by providing $10,000.” Helquist said. He also noted that after one year of mine operation, the city should see an increase in its revenues by twenty percent from the royalty and property taxes paid by the sand company.

He said, “We will address the environmental concerns and property values and help the city grow for the next 30 plus years.” Helquist also addressed hiring by saying, “We try to hire local as much as possible” and that “We are going to provide good long term jobs here in Glenwood City so your young people will not migrate to Milwaukee.”

At the end of his presentation Mayor John Larson questioned Helquist about a timeline when he can have a written draft of their proposals for the council to look at. One will be ready by the end of the month.