Plan follows  several months of studies in OTC

By Tom Hintgen

Otter Tail County Correspondent

County commissioners, on Dec. 9, formally adopted Otter Tail County’s long-range strategic plan.

This came about following several months of studies concerning public infrastructure, natural resources, recreation and other goals for the betterment of Otter Tail County and its residents.

Also included, prior to county board approval, were public focus groups, open meetings held around the county, surveys and final reviews.

“We received lots of public input during the past several months,” said County Public Works Director Rick West. “Now our mission is implementation of the plan and to provide progress reports to county residents.”

Approval passed unanimously and votes included the final measures of official duties for outgoing county commissioners Doug Huebsch of Perham and John Lindquist of Dalton.

Also voting in the affirmative were commissioners Wayne Johnson of Pelican Rapids, Betty Murphy of Maine Township and Lee Rogness of Fergus Falls.

Public meetings previously offered residents of Otter Tail County an opportunity to provide feedback on the plan’s six elements of land use, public infrastructure (which includes roadway maintenance), resilience, economy, natural resources and parks and trails.

“It’s exciting to finalize a document that includes a plan for the betterment of Otter Tail County for the next 20 years,” West said. “There will be periodic enhancements to this document as we move forward in future years.”

Other counties in Minnesota have also conducted long-range planning and, like Otter Tail County, have sought public input, West added.

He said public participation helps ensure that Otter Tail County’s long-range plan accurately reflects the vision and goals of county residents, businesses and other stakeholders.

Joining the county board of commissioners in January 2021 will be Dan Bucholz of rural Perham and Kurt Mortenson of rural Underwood.