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Hopes for Hwy. 14

THUMBS UP: The Minnesota Department of Transportation is seeking funding this year for expanding Highway 14 from two to four lanes all the way to New Ulm, MnDOT announced on Thursday.

If MnDOT can get the $50 million Infrastucture for Rebuilding America grant it is seeking, it would be more than halfway to the $90.5 million cost of the project. MnDOT would seek funding from other federal sources to fund the rest.

A federal grant request for Highway 14 was turned down earlier this year, a disappointment make all the more bitter by the spate of deaths on Highway 14 in the past month. Two deaths in two days occured in late January. It is time this project is funded.

A Grand decade

THUMBS UP: The Grand Kabaret celebrated its 10th anniversary Friday. Part of the Grand Center for Arts & Culture, the Grand Kabaret is a small, intimate spot for live music performers of all kinds, from bluegrass to jazz to folk-rock. It has become an important venue for the musical groups in the area, and a great spot for New Ulm residents to get a dose of nightclubbing.

Congratulations to the Grand Kabaret, and here’s looking to many more decades ahead.

RENU funding

THUMBS UP: The New Ulm City Council, pondering some higher-than-expected costs for the city’s RENU progam, approved spending more than originally budgeted on the New Ulm Recreation Center to keep more of the original design.

The project was originally estimated to cost $9.5 million, but a new estimate put it at near $13 million. After paring it back some, the city came up with an $11 million estimate, still higher, but attainable.

We think the city council made the right decision on not cutting the plan back further. With a new swimming center and a gymnastics center, this project is the centerpiece of the RENU program. It should not be lowballed into a smaller version just to keep the costs down.

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