BE council hears of ‘serious’ concern | News, Sports, Jobs

This gravestone for the infant Henry Burleson is not necessarily located where the grave actually is in the historic church.

The Blue Earth City Council was lively on the business at a meeting on Tuesday, June 21st.

Earlier in the meeting, Faribault County Historical Society (FCHS) director Randy Anderson alerted the council to a potentially “serious” issue.

According to Anderson, the issue came to light when the FCHS applied for a $162,300 grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to repair and stabilize Blue Earth’s Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd. Discussions have erupted with the MNHS and Minnesota State Archaeologist Amanda Gronhovd about the unmarked grave of infant Henry Burleson, known to be somewhere on the church grounds.

In anticipation of ground disturbances during the restoration project, FCHS conducted site searches last September and October to locate Burleson’s grave. They eventually found the burial site in the northeast corner of the church grounds, buried about 18 inches below the surface.

It is possible for a retaining wall adjacent to a cluster of storage sheds on the Crescent Apartment property to collide with Burleson’s gravesite. If so, the wall may violate Minnesota State Statute 307.08, which governs human remains outside of recognized cemeteries, Anderson reported.

Anderson was curious how the Crescent Apartment site had received approval to expand as close to the church property as possible.

“I can certify that I have not found in our files any notice of a public hearing or provision of an easement that would have permitted this western development of the Crescent Apartments property.” Anderson noted in a written correspondence with the council.

He informed the council that state archaeologist Gronhovd will conduct a detailed site study and officially register the burial this fall. He also suspects whether the retaining wall violates State Statute 307.08, which will be promulgated at this time.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if she (Gronhovd) expresses some kind of determination saying that the (retaining) wall has to be removed.” Anderson predicted.

Mayor Rick Scholtes responded that at the time the Wall was built, in his opinion, there would have been no restrictions on its location as long as the lots on either side of the property line respected utility rights.

He advised Anderson to keep the council informed of the inspection’s findings and suggested that the council could wait until the city and FCHS had more information before making a decision regarding the issue.

“If we have to adapt and adapt because there’s a burial ground there, we’ll take care of it.”said Scholtes. “Just keep us updated with what you learn.”

On other matters, the Blue Earth City Council:

• Received Blue Earth’s 2021 audit report from Dean Birkeland from CarlsonSV CPAs and consultants. He reported that most of the city’s financial statements had received unchanged opinion.

Birkeland added that the city’s overall financial record appears to be in good shape.

• Approved Chase Brandt, financial advisor to Edward Jones, to join the Economic Development Authority.

• Regulation 22-13 passed unanimously amending Subsection 360.15, subdivision 3, which governs the permitting process for municipal chicken ownership.

Approved a $595.77 sewer forgiveness application from M&M Insurance Agency. The council also approved a $535.78 petition for Jerica Wolf’s sewer forgiveness.

• Approved a draft agreement with the Faribault County Baseball Association regarding maintenance of baseball fields. The draft will be submitted to the Baseball Association for review and approval before the policy becomes effective.

• Received an update on summer road improvement projects from Project Engineer Ben Rosol. Rosol noted that Seventh Street will be closed Monday for construction and the first phase of construction on the First Street area is expected to be completed early next week.

• Approved first and last salary estimate for drain tile replacement at Blue Earth Municipal Airport of $20,353.25.

• Approved updated confiscation rates proposed by the Faribault County Humane Society. A fee of $500 per month is paid to FCHS by the City of Blue Earth, along with a fee of $20 per day per dog kept at the facility and $5 per day per cat.

• Public hearing scheduled for July 5 for a beekeeping license application at 205 First Street.

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