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New public works facility in Hovland is complete

The new public works facility for the Cook County Highway Department is up and operational. The new ‘Hovland garage,’ as it is commonly referred to by county staff and local residents, is 5,828 sq. ft. in size. S&C Masonry of Grand Marais was selected to build the Hovland public works garage in the spring of 2019. The construction bid was for just over $1.1 million to build the new facility.

According to Cook County Highway Engineer Krysten Foster, two employees work at the facility in Hovland. Three pieces of highway maintenance equipment, including a grader, plow truck and a tractor-backhoe, are now stored inside. Previously, at least one of these pieces of equipment had to sit outside on a year-round basis due to space limitations at the former garage in Hovland.
While noting air quality, heating improvements and adequate space to maneuver, Foster said the highway department expects to more frequently repair and maintain this equipment on-site instead of hauling it back to the Grand Marais facility when repairs are needed.
The future of the former public works facility in Hovland remains unknown at this time. Late in 2019, volunteers from the Hovland Fire Department said they would like to base their operations out of the now unoccupied facility. The old building, Foster said, was built sometime in the 1980s and is approximately 2,820 sq. ft. There were safety questions about the old facility in the lead up to the construction of the new Hovland garage. Prior to any official arrangements between the county and Hovland Fire Department, safety inspections will likely take place in order to determine the condition of the old building, according to Interim County Administrator Rena Rogers.
WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs visited the new Hovland garage Friday, Jan. 17. He toured the facility with Cook County Commissioner Myron Bursheim, Rogers and Foster.

The audio below is recorded inside the new facility. Click on the picture above to view more images of the county-owned buildings in Hovland.