The Nisswa City Council agreed Wednesday, July 17, to pursue inexpensive options to buy tax-forfeited lots on Camp Lincoln Road to protect the integrity of the property for years to come.

The property includes three contiguous tracts of forested land that the city has zoned public recreation. The lots are across the street from Lake Hubert on the designated scenic route winding its way to the east of Hole-in-the-Day Lake.

The lots remained unsold after a Crow Wing County land sale last month. The land remains available for sale over the counter to potential buyers.

City council member Don Jacobson said he fears the lots will sell for timber and it will be logged off. He asked if the city should ask the county if it can buy the lots for $1 or $10, or some minor amount so it’s not logged off.

City Administrator Jenny Max said she and Planning and Zoning Administrator Brittney Cotner met with Crow Wing County Land Services staff regarding the property, and she believes the city can work with the county.

The county recently gave the city of Emily a parcel of lakeshore property that the city developed into a city park. The county was able to give the land for this purpose and the city had to agree to maintain the property as a park for 30 years.

Nisswa has this option, and the city’s comprehensive plan speaks to these parcels as future city park property, Max said.

If the city decided not to use the land for parks, trails or public beaches, it would have to buy the land for its appraised value. The current appraised value for developable lots is roughly in the $50,000 range, but these lots are not developable because of city zoning, Max said.

Max said if the city obtained the property for a city park, it could be left as a natural, undeveloped park.

If the council supported staff looking at the property for a “park,” Max said she believes the county would leave the parcels as they are until the city can put together a presentation to show what the parcels would be used for.

Council member Gary Johnson was absent July 17.

In other business, the council:

  • Heard from Mayor Fred Heidmann, who questioned the delay in adding a turn lane at the Grand View Lodge entrance for safety. After much discussion, Heidmann said he was “disgusted” and disappointed in the council and staff that nothing has been done yet.
  • Heard from Lenny Hodgson, who said his neighborhood and portions of Church Street, Poplar Avenue, Mitchell Court, Woodale Road, Centennial Lane and Wolf Chase have poor or no cell phone reception. He asked for the city's help. The council agreed to check with a company that had looked into putting an antenna and booster on city property a couple of years ago but never did so.
  • Approved a request from Bridges of Hope to conduct the Run for Hope on Saturday, Sept. 21.
  • Approved a request from Camp Lincoln to conduct the Camp Lincoln/Camp Lake Hubert Lucky Me Run on Aug. 24, subject to the camp having a certificate of insurance.
  • Approved a state of Minnesota joint powers agreement with the city on behalf of its police department regarding the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
  • Accepted the following donations from the Nisswa Lions Club: $3,380 for a drone for the fire department; $7,400 for a Heiman demo tool for the fire department; and $10,000 for kitchen upgrades at the Nisswa Community Center.
  • Approved an ordinance amendment to clarify language regarding accessory structures. The council tabled another ordinance amendment regarding exterior finishes for commercial structures, where the intent is to keep the “up north” feel in the community, which coincides with the comprehensive plan, so the planning commission can more strictly define some wording that Heidmann questioned.
  • Approved an amended conditional use permit and preliminary plat of Fallen Woods, a proposed development consisting of 28 single-family residential building sites and one commonly owned lot of greenspace on 12.91 acres on Poplar Avenue.
  • Met in closed session for union negotiations.

Public safety

Nisswa police reported the following activity in June: 33 agency assists, 247 calls for service, two criminal citations, 23 traffic citations, 86 traffic warnings, 10 arrests, 14 emergency medical services calls and 10 alarms.

Nisswa firefighters had 34 calls in June, including 27 emergency medical services calls, five fire alarms, one car accident and one carbon monoxide call.