The Nisswa City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 16, approved an agreement with Widseth engineering firm for the Gull Lake Trail project. The city is working with Lake Shore, which previously approved the agreement.

Both cities are working on the final phase of this trail with construction expected in 2022. The cities received a Legacy grant for $2.4 million toward the project.

Widseth’s cost estimates total $237,000 for the design phase and $269,000 for the construction phase. The council approved the agreement, minus an $11,000 estimate for public bidding in the design phase.

Council member Don Jacobson voiced concern over a projected shortfall of nearly $700,000 for the project, which led to lengthy discussion, including how the Gull Lake Trail project budget discrepancies originated.

The shortfall is the difference between the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails grant that Nisswa and Lake Shore are to receive for the trail and the estimated construction budget.

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The grant totals $2,434,922, plus estimated matching funds from both Lake Shore ($400,000) and Nisswa ($281,282) for a total of $3,116,204.

Total estimated construction costs are $3,793,050. That total includes the design and construction phase estimated costs, plus $2,858,000 estimated construction and $429,050 in contingency funds (which may or may not be needed).

Both cities need to pursue avenues for funding to fill the gap.

Golf cart ordinance

The council scheduled a public hearing for the Tuesday, March 16, city council meeting for a draft golf cart ordinance. City Administrator Jenny Max and Parks & Recreation Director Amber Moon Peterson recommended the council approve the ordinance approval process ahead of the trail use policy.

In a memo, they said they are working on a golf cart pilot project to launch this summer to begin to understand the patterns and use of golf carts in the city limits.

At the end of the pilot project, information gathered in the summer would be used to develop a final trail use policy, which the council would adopt before the completion of the Gull Lake Trail anticipated in 2022.

There has been some public opposition to allowing golf carts to use the Gull Lake Trail because of safety concerns.

In other business Feb. 16, the council:

  • Approved a resolution to seek Local Road Improvement Program funds to improve the entrance to Grand View Lodge at the Nokomis Avenue and County State Aid Highway 77 intersection. The council also authorized the city administrator to submit an application to the Minnesota Department of Transportation to build a single-lane roundabout at that intersection.

Maximum grant funding per project is $1,250,000.

  • Appointed Tom MacAulay and Galen Strovers to the Public Works Committee. One open seat remains on that committee.

  • Approved amended commission/committee appointments and council liaison appointments.

  • Approved a proposal with Widseth engineering firm for an estimated $3,400 for an engineer services concept plan to extend Hazelwood Drive to CSAH 77.

  • Heard a presentation from council member Mark Utzinger regarding plan goals for city staff. Utzinger will work with Max on the proposal and further explanation on how the process will work.

Nancy Vogt may be reached at 218-855-5877 or nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.