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Depending on spring weather, motorists could be driving on a majority of the long-awaited, $49.9 million Highway 371 four-lane expansion from Nisswa to Jenkins at the end of May, including the new lanes and full interchange just east of downtown Pequot Lakes. Residents should see construction crews back at work soon - the first part of April, Randy Shoen, project manager with Mathiowetz Construction (the project contractor) said in an emailed summary.
In light of a city commission being formed to study how best to pay for road improvements in Nisswa, the city council on Wednesday, March 15, decided not to proceed with Edna Lake Road improvements at this time. The council did accept a feasibility report from city engineer Mark Hallan, of Widseth Smith Nolting, that includes the proposed costs to improve Edna Lake Road and a short section of Parkway Drive. The council had authorized the report.
Three task forces formed through the Pequot Lakes Thriving Communities Initiative program are hard at work planning for the city's future when traffic patterns change with a rerouted Highway 371, which is anticipated to open this spring. A group of steering committee members met Wednesday, March 15, at Pequot Lakes City Hall to share what each task force is tackling. The Initiative Foundation sponsors the Thriving Communities Initiative program and is guiding a core team of people through the process.
The Nisswa City Council on Wednesday, March 15, hired Matthew Hill as park and recreation director. He'll begin his new job April 3. Mark Sjoblad, park commission member, said several qualified people were interviewed. Hill succeeds Alex Hondl, who held the position for a little more than two years before resigning in January for a parks and trails maintenance supervisor job in Baxter.
We're all living the "stages" of life. Depending on our age, some of us have lived through more stages than others. For my generation, the "wedding stage" came in our mid-20s, when we attended lots of friends' weddings. The "baby stage" followed rather quickly, and we were hosting or attending lots of baby showers in our late 20s and early 30s. Now, in our 50s, our kids are getting engaged and/or having babies. And, I am learning, we are attending funerals. Our parents are in their 70s and 80s, and we're realizing they're not immortal.
The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, March 7, agreed to look into hiring a building official to ensure new construction meets the State Building Code. The planning and zoning commission will research the idea and make a recommendation to the council. Mayor Nancy Adams suggested the discussion, saying in a memo to the council that community feedback received through the Thriving Communities Initiative process revealed the need for quality housing in Pequot Lakes. That led Adams to ask the council to revisit adoption of the State Building Code for Pequot Lakes.
Nisswa's planning and zoning administrator of nearly two years became the third city employee to resign this year. Brent Jones submitted his resignation effective April 6, though his last day in the office will be March 31. "I have accepted a position with the city of Lakeville that will give me an opportunity to further my career as a planner," Jones wrote in his resignation letter. He said by phone Monday that he has always wanted to work for a growing city like Lakeville that is in the south metro area.
Pequot Lakes Police Chief Eric Klang will attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, from October to December this year. The city council on Tuesday, March 7, authorized Klang to accept the invitation. Police Sgt. Chad Turcotte will be acting chief in Klang's absence. In a memo to the council, Klang said involvement in the FBI Academy is by invitation only through a nomination process. Participants are drawn from every state and from over 150 international partners with only 1 percent of law enforcement invited to attend.
The Lake Shore City Council continues to study information regarding remodeling or building a new city hall. The council has preliminary information and seeks more defined costs. In his mayor's report at the Monday, Feb. 27, council meeting, Kevin Egan said city engineer Widseth Smith Nolting did a site analysis to gather information on four options for a new city hall. Those options, which were discussed Feb. 21 at a City Hall Building Committee meeting, are:
The Pequot Lakes City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 21, held a work session to discuss improvements to a quadrant of downtown roads from Old Highway 371 to Government Drive, and County State Aid Highway 11 to Woodman Street. No decisions were made. City engineer Tim Houle with Widseth Smith Nolting will figure out rough costs based on council members' discussion.