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Pequot Lakes City Council may move meeting time, day

Council hears update on splashpad fundraising efforts

Pequot Lakes City Council May 3, 2022.jpg
The Pequot Lakes City Council met Tuesday, May 3, 2022, in the council chambers at city hall.
Nancy Vogt / Echo Journal
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PEQUOT LAKES — The Pequot Lakes City Council is considering changing its monthly meeting time and day to 6 p.m. the first Monday of the month at city hall.

The council currently meets at 6:30 p.m. the first Tuesday of the month and has for many years.

The goal is to streamline operations with a longtime staff member retiring (Dawn Bittner, zoning specialist) and the formation of a fire district with Breezy Point.

City staff will check with other boards and commissions as the city explores moving all city meetings to Mondays.

Splash pad

The council learned the splash pad fundraising committee has raised a total of $71,717 with more funds pending from events, which is $20,555 more than a month ago.

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Other funds include $49,140 the city pledged in park dedication funds and $7,148 in nonlevied leftover franchise fees from 2021, as well as $16,039 in pending funds.

Then subtracting $2,500 for future footpath paver expenses, the committee has $141,524.

Its goal is to raise at least $150,000.

Read more Pequot Lakes City Council news
Starting in July, both cities will have ownership and input regarding fire district operations.
Mayor, council member call funds raised 'amazing'
Pequot Lakes City Council also discusses cooperative road project, Coleman Drive improvements
Fundraising efforts are well underway with more events planned and continued individual donations
Council also accepts quote for the splash pad to be installed in Trailside Park; fundraising efforts continue
Work plan outlines priorities for 2022.
Breezy Point had concerns with its contract with Pequot Lakes so pursued potential negotiations with other area fire departments in recent months.
City council continues to talk about Breezy Point fire service, the need to hire another police officer

Food shelf

Jean Kraft shared information about the Lakes Area Food Shelf, asking the council to consider donating $5,000 to the food shelf.

The council did not act on that request May 3.

Kraft shared that the Lakes Area Food Shelf is open from 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, and from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays, at its location on Patriot Avenue south of downtown Pequot Lakes.

Comparing numbers, the food shelf served 4,657 people of all ages in 2021, including more than 1,000 older than age 65.

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From January-March 2021, the food shelf served 760 individuals. During those same months in 2022, the food shelf has seen 2,319 individuals; 69% are residents of the Pequot Lakes ZIP code.

Food prices are rising and people are getting less governmental aid. The food shelf is seeing a large increase in the number of families served, from 15-17 families per day in April 2021 to 35-45 families a day now.

“Numbers are only expected to increase,” Kraft said.

The food shelf has 30 volunteers and two paid part-time staff, including director Kathy Adams, who attended the meeting with Kraft and answered council questions.

Kraft also shared that the food shelf is beginning a strategic planning process with a goal to convene focus groups and talk to patrons and businesses to understand the needs of the area and what other resources are available to develop a network of services to help people.

Patriot Avenue redesign

A committee has been reviewing potential ideas of future improvements to Patriot Avenue. The goal is to transition from a past state highway to a more urban road with curb and gutter, sidewalks, trails and streetscaping.

The first focus is on the block of Patriot Avenue between Main Street and Sibley Street, from the traffic light to Builders FirstSource. There is a city park on either side of the street in that section - Bobber Park and Trailside Park.

A goal would be to slow traffic, draw the two parks together and provide parking in that area.

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A proposal is to do a “test section” featuring sketches for that block. If the council chose a sketch, those items could be implemented from July through the end of September to gauge how it works.

The council agreed to move ahead with this idea with Mayor Tyler Gardner voting no.

In other business May 3, the council:

  • Heard a presentation by Jason Murray, from David Drown Associates, who shared information on the city’s capital improvement plan and potential goal setting to begin the budget process for 2023.
  • Approved a funding request for $9,750 in American Rescue Plan Act funds for a Smart Room at the Pequot Lakes Library.
  • Agreed to hire Chris Melin as a part-time police officer.
  • Agreed to look into paving Ninth Avenue up to Krist Court and to reach out to Loon Lake Township because both entities share the road.
  • Agreed to provide services to the Pine River Area Sanitary District for four hours a week for up to a year to help PRASD meet licensing requirements. This would be a short-term contract to help PRASD.

Last month, the city hired Andy Schwartz, who worked for PRASD, as the city’s water and wastewater operations manager. Pequot Lakes previously had a contract with PRASD for wastewater operations.

  • Appointed Sabastian Mesa to the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board through 2024.

Nancy Vogt, editor, 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.

Nancy Vogt is editor of the Pineandlakes Echo Journal, a weekly newspaper that covers eight communities in the Pequot Lakes-Pine River areas - from Nisswa to Hackensack and Pequot Lakes to Crosslake.

She started as editor of the Lake Country Echo in July 2006, and continued in that role when the Lake Country Echo and the Pine River Journal combined in September 2013 to become the Pineandlakes Echo Journal. She worked for the Brainerd Dispatch from 1992-2006 in various roles.

She covers Nisswa, Pequot Lakes, Lake Shore and Crosslake city councils, as well as writes feature stories, news stories and personal columns (Vogt's Notes). She also takes photos at community events.

Contact her at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com or 218-855-5877 with story ideas or questions. Be sure to leave a voicemail message!
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