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Crosslake council approves expansion of community garden

The community garden in Crosslake is about to expand.

Jon Henke, director of parks, recreation and library, asked the council Monday, May 12, to declare a small cabin near the garden plots as surplus property to accommodate the growing interest in the garden.

“We’d really like to get this moving,” he said. “The garden folks are ready to get in there.”

The garden currently accommodates 44 gardeners, most of the plots being 10 by 20 feet. With 16 gardeners on a waiting list for the community plots, Henke said it’s time to expand.

The city acquired the cabin near the community center when it purchased two adjacent plots of land around 2000. Once used for book storage as part of the city’s annual library sale, Henke noted it no longer serves any purpose for the city.

He said they no longer trust the floor in the cabin to hold the amount of weight hundreds of books represents, and they have since begun using the warming house near the hockey rink as book storage.

Henke offered three options for removal of the building: first, he suggested selling the building on Craigslist with the condition that it be removed from the property in one piece; second, he suggested using the building as a practice burn for the Crosslake Fire Department; and third, the Parks Department could demolish the building.

Henke noted the cheapest and most effective option would be for someone to purchase the building and remove it.

“It costs money to do a demolition. It might cost $2,000-$3,000,” he said. “(By selling it the city could) maybe make a few bucks for some of the rewiring we’d have to do to get the pumps to the garden.”

The council approved declaring the building surplus property, suggesting Henke proceed with selling the building on Craigslist. If this sale were to fail, however, the council gave Henke permission to proceed with exploring the practice burn option and, as a last resort, demolition.

Public safety

Police chief Robert Hartman supplied the April reports of police activity. There were 109 total calls, of which three were property damage crashes and one was a theft. There were 23 alarms, 21 traffic warnings, 16 agency assists, 15 EMS calls, one traffic citation, one missing person, one threat and four welfare checks, among others.

Last April, there were 28 more calls for the month than this year, including 20 additional traffic warnings.

For Mission Township, a total of 37 incidents occurred, including 23 traffic warnings, five agency assists, two alarms, two EMS calls, two traffic citations and one theft.

Fire chief Chip Lohmiller reported a total of 14 incidents in April, all of which were EMS calls. A total of 98 calls have been received so far this year, as compared to 93 total at this point last year.

North Ambulance in Crosslake reported 44 callouts in April, 31 of which occurred during the day. Thirty-one of these calls resulted in transporting patients, 13 from Crosslake, three from Breezy Point, two from Fifty Lakes, one from Mission and one from Timothy Township.

In other business Monday, the council:

• Designated the last available off-sale license to Maucieri’s Italian Bistro, Bar & Deli. The Maucieris do not intend to open a liquor store; instead, they will use the license to sell bottles of wine at tasting events.

• Passed a resolution approving the County State Aid Highway 36 project within municipal corporate limits.

• Heard an update on the Crosslake Fourth of July fireworks. The city again received a $5,000 donation, which puts it $3,000 short of the $15,000 goal set by the PAL Foundation.

Donations are welcomed in the cans around town, by purchasing bracelets or by checks mailed to the PAL Foundation, 14226 Daggett Pine Road.

• Heard from Alden Hardwick of the PAL Foundation that the Crosslake cabin calendars are ready for distribution. Hardwick also updated the council on the Nordic Ridge trails, noting the walkway across the swamp will be constructed as early as next week. Trail rides will begin May 21 at 10 a.m.

• Heard an update on the previously tabled outstanding planning and zoning fee. Scott and Gordon Siemers were in attendance to make a case for a reduction in the fees they have not paid. The council decided not to make a decision yet, to assure they will be consistent with previous actions on fees considered to be “excessive.”

• Heard from Henke that Anderson Brothers gave the lowest quote for the parking lot reconstruction project. The project includes replacing sidewalks as well. Striping will be a separate project completed by city staff, and will expand the stalls from nine feet to 10 feet to be in compliance with the city’s own ordinances. The council approved accepting Anderson Brothers’ bid.

• Heard from operation manager Jared Johnson that Crosslake Communications’ fiber optic cable project is a week ahead of schedule. He said the company will mostly be in “preserve and protect mode” after completion of Bay Shore Drive.

• Heard from public works director Ted Strand that he intends to hire both Abra Landscaping and North Country Lawn Care to attempt to eliminate creeping charlie on city property. Each uses a different chemical but gave comparable bids, so Strand would like to split the job to determine the most effective method.

Chelsey Perkins can be reached at Follow her at and on Twitter @PEJ_Chelsey.

Chelsey Perkins
Chelsey Perkins grew up in Crosslake and is a graduate of Pequot Lakes High School. She earned her Bachelor's degree in professional journalism from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. Perkins has interned at the Lake Country Echo and the Rochester and Austin Post-Bulletins and also worked for the student-run Minnesota Daily newspaper as a copy editor and columnist during college. She went on to intern at Utne Reader magazine, where she was later hired as the research editor. Before joining the Brainerd Dispatch, Perkins worked as a staff writer for the Pineandlakes Echo Journal.
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