Doors open to new Otter Tail County garage

Left to right: Cristi Field, Otter Tail County Highway Maintenance Supervisor, Kirby Swanson, Highway Maintenance Driver, Bruce Haugrud, Highway Maintenance Driver, Wayne Johnson, County Commissioner, Chad Young, Pelican Rapids Chamber, Joel Clauson, Pelican Rapids Chamber, Lee Rogness, County Commissioner, Pelican Rapids Mayor Brent Frazier, Lance Roisum, City Administrator, Byron Zitzow, Highway Maintenance Driver, County Commissioner Kurt Mortenson, and Dena Johnson.

Big enough for an arena football game; or a basketball court.

That was the observation of the new Otter Tail County Highway Department, by Pelican Rapids city administrator Lance Roisum, as he scanned the interior of the nine-bay structure. Each bay big enough for a Mack Truck—which were lined like sentinels through the expansive building. 

County, city, and Pelican Chamber of Commerce officials were on hand for the open house and ribbon cutting. The general public also participated in tours of the building.

The garage took form over the past several months, just west of the Pelican Rapids city industrial park. The immediate neighbor is Pelican Powersports. 

A frequent comment during the open house was the size—from an inside perspective. Square footage is 15,848, including the mezzanine. The exterior view is impressive, but once inside, the size of the structure—filled with trucks—is even more stunning, as noted by several visitors. 

The nine bays at the new West Otter Tail County Highway Garage includes a wash bay, pictured here during the April 21 open house.

The facility replaces three Highway Garages that were located in Pelican, Erhard, and Vergas. 

While those communities no longer have a county garage facility, West Otter Tail County Commissioner Wayne Johnson noted that those communities “also benefited from those garage areas being freed up for use as those communities see fit.” 

This facility will cover the northwest area of the County for general highway maintenance, such as repairing potholes, mowing, culvert cleaning, etc. 

Six snowplow routes will originate from the new facility, noted Otter Tail highway engineer Chuck Grotte. The new facility also has a salt/sand Storage shed, located directly west of the garage, and a solid waste recycling dropoff location.

The Salt/Sand Storage Shed replaced the one that the Minnesota Department of Transportation owned and had lost its roof in a summer storm, noted Johnson.

The Pelican Rapids Highway Garage is located at 300 430th Street, just west of Pelican Powersports, in the Pelican City Industrial Park.