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Mayor's Notebook: Crosslake has a lot going on

If you were in Crosslake this past weekend, you know that the summer season has finally arrived!

Whether celebrating Mother's Day, taking in the fishing opener or having a drive-by-brat at the Corps campground to support Light Up the Dam, we certainly had the benefit of near perfect weather conditions. One could feel the energy in the air as campers and seasonal homeowners return, and guests, visitors and tourists grace our streets and trails by biking or walking, eating at our establishments, shopping at our shops and just enjoying Crosslake with all its amenities and natural beauty.

Our business community is active as well. From the construction that is now underway to a new rent-a-bike concession, our retail businesses are gearing up for the summer. Everybody is working to showcase Crosslake in the best possible way.

Jim Funk, newest Economic Development Authority member and owner of Crosslake Coffee (along with Catherine), hears this from his coffee customers: "We love coming to your town, it is so charming and the people are so friendly."

That is quite a statement and gives us a clue as to how we will continue to build Crosslake's future.

Our tourist attractions have also been active. Many of you attended the Historical Society fundraising dinner May 16 and planned to be at the dedication of the Linda Ulland Memorial Butterfly Garden at the federal dam on May 19. Along with the Northern Trackers Railroad Museum, these attractions provide a cornerstone for building our tourism economy.

Even city hall has an inviting appearance with the addition of hanging baskets and pots of flowers this year!

Your city government has had a very busy spring as well. We are actively working on an extensive update of our comprehensive plan that, while a reflection of our history, will provide a guide to our future. As an example, the word "sustainability" wasn't even in our vocabulary 15 years ago; now it reaches into every aspect of our community. Over the summer, you will be invited to learn and be further engaged in this project.

Many of you are aware that our sewer system will be going through a number of upgrades. Last week, Public Works Director Ted Strand provided us with a calendar of projects that will likely impact the current system. Going forward, the council will get quarterly updates so we can be proactive rather than reactive in how we manage our plant more efficiently and economically.

As a result of the recently passed rural residential (RR5) zoning moratorium, our planning and zoning department will be working closely with Crow Wing County Land Services to review our current zoning and ordinances. While there is a need for more housing in Crosslake as well as business development, we need to make sure we have the right balance of residential and commercial zoning that offers the right opportunity for growth in Crosslake.

Another opportunity I'm excited about is the South Bay Park development. Community Director Jon Henke is leading this project. We are always looking for ways to broaden our tax base, and I think this may be one of those opportunities.

Jon and the park and rec commission will be working on a long-range plan to be developed and shared with the community over the next 18 months.

And "Crosslake Conversations" begins at 1:30 p.m. June 14 at the community center. This is an opportunity to learn about and participate in what is happening in your town. The first "conversation" will be an update on active projects resulting from last fall's Minnesota Design Team project. While much of the activity has not been visible, committees have been working behind the scenes. This will be an opportunity to learn about what's been happening and become involved yourself.

We do live in a great community, and it is your community. Volunteer where needed, attend city meetings, be engaged and help make our community the very best it can be!

This article reflects my perspectives and opinions and NOT the council as a whole. So if you have questions or concerns, stop in at city hall from 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays for a cup of coffee or just to chat. I will be out of the office May 22-30; however, you may leave a message with city hall and I will be in touch.

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