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Nisswa awards bid for public restroom/chamber building

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The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, May 15, awarded the bid for the public restroom/chamber of commerce building to the lowest bidder for $343,384, contingent upon an abatement bond sale scheduled for June 19.

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Country Pride Construction of Stanchfield submitted that bid. The council on May 7 had approved an abatement bond not to exceed $760,000 to construct this building and to make improvements to the city park and the community center.

Construction should begin my mid-summer on the public restroom/welcome center building at the site of the existing restrooms and former chamber location on Main Street.

The city budgeted about $58,000 in 2013 for a bond payment this year. After selling the bond and determining the interest rate, the city then will budget the amount of the annual debt service payment every year for the duration of the 10-year bond.

Also May 15, the council set taproom license fees at $500, which it charges 3.2 liquor establishments.

The council had approved an ordinance amendment last month to license brewer/taprooms after receiving several requests to open such a business in Nisswa. There currently are no applications pending in the city.

Tap room licenses in Nisswa can only be issued to establishments that serve food, or restaurants, because the city has municipal liquor operations. However, there were proposals in the Legislature that would allow cities with municipal liquor operations to issue a taproom license to a brewer without the food requirement.

Sign ordinance change

The council approved an amendment to the Land Use Ordinance pertaining to the section on signs. There are three major changes that will be applied to new applications for signs:

• A conditional use permit will be required for the majority of signs, including business signs. A conditional use permit fee for signs will be $75 rather than the $350 conditional use permit fee for a commercial use.

• The Planning Commission may restrict signs or revise design standards to ensure the preservation of the unique small town character of Nisswa.

• The illumination of signs will be restricted to indirect and internally lit.

Public safety

Police chief Craig Taylor said there are issues that need to be addressed next year for the Brainerd Jaycees Run for the Lakes Marathon. The Jaycees now pay for Nisswa Police Department services that day, and Taylor said police were asked to cut back from last year. While no one was hurt and the route was safe, he suggested changes were needed for next year.

The council established a committee to meet with the Jaycees.

In April, police had 173 calls for service. Activity included 15 agency assists, two criminal citations, 23 traffic citations, 56 traffic warnings, four arrests, nine medical calls and 17 alarms.

Taylor said officers are dealing with numerous traffic issues because of the Highway 371 road construction.

Fire chief Richard Geike reported medical calls have picked up for the department, but it was a quiet month for fire calls.

Liquor Department

Pickle Factory numbers are down a bit, and manager Terry Wallin attributed that to a long winter and fewer golfers here than last year at this time, when spring weather was favorable. Wallin expects business to pick up soon.

The council commended managers and staff at the Pickle Factory and Spirits of Nisswa for those business’ profitability.

In other business May 15, the council:

• Accepted the 2012 audit presented by Judi Moravec of Mathias C. Justin certified public accountants in Pequot Lakes.

• Renewed liquor, beer and club licenses.

• Agreed to contribute up to $2,500 toward Bass Lake road maintenance.

• Reappointed council member Jan Pierce to the Planning Commission.

• Approved a one-year Middle Cullen Road maintenance agreement.

• Learned the city received 101 applications for the deputy clerk position.

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