A topic that has come up often in recent decades might be put to rest soon.  The Rice County bathroom building replacement.  The Rice County Board of Commissioners today approved a request to advertise for bids to replace the existing block building.

Parks and Facilities Director Matt Verdick told commissioners in a memo the current bathroom facilities are, "outdated and do not meet ADA requirements.  The bathroom facilities are not able to accommodate social distancing and do not meet hygiene standards."

The proposed new facility would meet the Americans with Disabilities Act and hygiene standards he says, "To help mitigate the spread of COVID-19."

Some CARES Act funding would be used to help with the work.  Commissioners unanimously approved the advertisement for bids for the Fairgrounds bathroom renovation project.

Commissioners did hear asbestos removal from the current building would cost about $10,000 to remove before demolition of the existing building and construction of the new facility.  Rice County workers will demolish the existing building.

The facility is approximately the same size as the present building with 6 stalls, a handicap stall, 3 sinks and a shower in the women's restroom.  The men's restroom will have 3 urinals, 3 stalls, 3 sinks and a mechanical room.

In addition the County Board also approved Cares Act Funding request for a food assistance project on behalf of 10 Faribault and Rice County agencies and organizations.

Community Action Center (CAC) is taking the lead on the project asking for CARES Act funding to support the expansion of programs and service to address community member immediate food access needs and create an infrastructure to address to address the long-term needs of Faribault and Rice County residents experiencing food insecurity due to COVID-19.

The Community Action Center says the need has been exacerbated by the recent closure of the Faribault Food Shelf.   CAC is requesting $125,500 in Cares Act funding and they've leveraged another $206.900 from other funding sources to assist with the project.  No County dollars are being used.

The County Board also approved CARES Act grant funding for the Healthy Community Initiative Technology Project.

With the funding the Healthy Community Initiative will hire two full time temporary staff through December to work with families to help with internet access and troubleshoot technology challenges.  These individuals will be bi-lingual.

No county levy funds will be used for the project.

Rice County Fair New Bathroom Plans. photo by Gordy Kosfeld August 25, 2020