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Crosslakers wrap up busy but successful year

The end of the calendar year is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the next 12. As the Crosslakers put a Christmas bow on 2017, the all-volunteer group looks back with pride (and some exhaustion) at the activities of the pa...

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The end of the calendar year is a time to reflect on the past 12 months and look ahead to the next 12. As the Crosslakers put a Christmas bow on 2017, the all-volunteer group looks back with pride (and some exhaustion) at the activities of the past year.

In January, the Crosslakers and the Greater Lakes Association of Realtors (GLAR) applied for a $15,000 grant from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to hold a workshop event to identify opportunities for improving the current street, sidewalk and trails system. The NAR approved the grant, the only such grant awarded in the country. GLAR added an additional $1,500 grant.

The grants enabled GLAR and the Crosslakers to present a Crosslake connectivity walkshop on June 13. Participants went on a "walking audit" of some of the town's trails, sidewalks and streets then returned to discuss ways to improve them. They learned about walkability principles created by Blue Zones, the organization that facilitated the walkshop. Blue Zones incorporated the citizen input received at the walkshop and created an action plan that presents several design options for city leaders to consider.

A Crosslakers website, www.crosslakers.com , was launched, and the public can access it to see the minutes of all the meetings, progress reports from the various work groups and ways to join the group. New Crosslaker brochures and posters were developed and distributed around town to help encourage more volunteers to step up to help in areas that interest or concern them.

The dog park working group continued to consult with the city and other governmental bodies to find a publicly owned location to build a dog park in town. All the research has been done, and once a location is determined, the park could be operational within a year.

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Another town meeting was held Aug. 10 to update the public on the progress being made on key projects, including the creation of a National Loon Center in Crosslake, Crosslakers' role in updating the city's comprehensive plan, the group's water quality initiatives and its support for good public policy projects like the building of the new school and the development of new workforce housing.

On Oct. 27, Crosslakers met with city, county, state and federal government officials to discuss ways the group can work with government to implement its ideas.

Creation of a National Loon Center here was certainly the most ambitious idea to come out of the 2016 town meetings, where citizens suggested ways to improve Crosslake. In 2017, the National Loon Center Foundation was formed and hosted three town meetings to discuss the center.

Looking ahead to 2018, the Crosslakers will explore organizing as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) and discussing engaging a grant writer to help raise funds to implement some of the projects under consideration.

If you have an idea that you believe would be a good Crosslaker project, you are encouraged to become involved. To contact the group, send an email to info@crosslaker.com .

Related Topics: NONPROFITSCROSSLAKE
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