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Local businesses face MnDOT right-of-way challenges

James
James "Sporto" Ford stands next to the corner of his restaurant that is "encroaching" on MnDOT's right-of-way. Photo R. Silence

Although the Minnesota Department of Transportation Highway 61 construction project—a two-year undertaking—is not even beginning until Spring 2020, it has been in the news a lot recently. 
 
The removal of trees in the highway right-of-way was troubling for many. But local business owners with frontage on Highway 61 are also facing challenges. About a dozen businesses are involved in legal proceedings with MnDOT. 

WTIP reached out to nearly all of them and most are hesitant to speak publicly about their interactions with MnDOT. 
 
However, two local business owners were willing to talk to WTIP. Here’s WTIP’s Rhonda Silence with more.

After reaching out to Highway 61 corridor business owners, Rhonda Silence also reached out to the Minnesota Department of Transportation to try to learn more about the Highway 61 right-of-way acquisition process. Here’s her conversation with Minnesota Department of Transportation Land Management Supervisor John Hinzman regarding local businesses and road easements needed for the Highway 61 project.