The Grant County Commissioners met for their regular monthly meeting October 18, at the Grant County Courthouse. Bill Tostenson, driver for the Community Transit, and Bobbie Bohlen, Executive Director of the Grant County Development Corporation, addressed the board.
Tostenson thanked the commissioners for their continual support and outlined future plans for the organization. “We are having some real growing pains with our buses and our building,” he said. “We have only talked about this amongst the drivers and staff, so are in the very early stages of improving our services.”
Tostenson stated the transit organization transports over 100 children and 20 adults on three bus routes every day. Currently, the group has two buses and two vans, but is raising money to replace one of the vans. “We also have the need for a larger bus to seat 14-16 children,” he said. “With a larger bus, we could transport these children more efficiently with room to grow.”
Tostenson suggested an expansion of the transit building might also be necessary. The county owns the transit building, but the organization would be responsible for any additions. “That is another area of growing pains we are feeling,” he said. “We have not gone any further than our local discussions, but we wanted to make you aware of our intentions. At some point in the future, we may ask for your monetary support.” County Auditor Karen Layher stated she would research grants to assist in expanding the building.
Bohlen updated the board on her projects. “The biggest thing we are working on right now is the housing situation,” she said. “A survey for commuters and those leaving the community is being created and will soon be distributed in hopes of nailing down the causes for those situations. We need to figure out the reason why so many people commute to Milbank to work. If it is because we do not have adequate housing here, we need to keep working to improve that situation.”
Bohlen also informed the commissioners the GCDC has purchased a house and is remodeling it. “We are trying this to see how it goes,” she said. “We have gutted the house, are fixing the wiring and plumbing, and will put it back on the market as affordable housing. If this is a success, we may continue this trend in the future.”
The next meeting of the commissioners is scheduled for November 1, at 8:00 a.m. in the Grant County Courthouse.