County Board OKs sponsoring grant, local match

NEW ULM Brown County commissioners unanimously approved sponsoring the Brown County Historical Society’s (BCHS) application for a Minnesota Historical and Cultural Heritage (Legacy) grant to upgrade the museum HVAC system on Tuesday.

The BCHS will apply for a $170,000 Legacy grant and would receive $20,000 from Brown County for phase one of the project estimated at$209,000. Improvements taking place in 2015 would include HVAC controls, chiller, water pumps and control valves.

The museum was originally built as a post office in 1910 and operated as a post office for 66 years. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The museum houses a variety of spaces including exhibit rooms, artifact storage, administrative spaces and a gift shop. The basement and third floor are served by an air handling unit. The first and second floors are served by heating/cooling fan-coil units.

Other than three portable dehumidifiers, there is not an active humidity control system in the museum. Existing systems are more than 30 years old and at the end of their useful life, according to a report from Questions & Solutions Engineering, Inc., Chaska.

The board’s objective is to develop a replacement plan for the HVAC system and integrate a humidity control strategy into the plan to better preserve museum collections.

“The BCHS is charged with building maintenance but it’s our building and our charge to update it. It’s time to address this. I think this is the way to go,” Commissioner Richard Seeboth said.

Commissioners approved:

The 2014 County Health Rankings released March 26, by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Among the state’s 87 counties, Brown County ranked 22nd in health outcomes and 37th in health factors, according to the report.

Health outcomes include the collective years of life lost due to people dying before age 75, the percentage of people who report being in fair or poor health and the rate of low-birth weight infants. Health factors include health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors and physical environment.

Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) Tobacco-Free Certification. Program goals include reducing the percentage of Minnesotans who use or are exposed to tobacco. All applicants must show evidence that their workplace is tobacco-free. Brown County did not have a policy in place that included grounds and events without designated smoking areas or exemptions.

Brown County SHIP Planner Melissa Hoffmann, RN, said the program includes workplace tobacco-free signage and cessation resources.

The STS/Juvenile Crew Quarterly Report from Jan. 1 to March 31, 2014.

Brown County Probation Director Les Schultz said work projects totaled 221 hours, 51 for the City of New Ulm and 170 for the county.

Work projects were urinary analysis preparation, shredding, cleanup, general cleaning, shoveling fire hydrants, snow removal, splitting and bundling wood, deer hides, painting, maintenance, construction, painting, tire recycling, setting up for the Home Show and brush and tree removal.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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