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Pequot Lakes: Council goes over 2022 work plan, authorizes police officer hiring

Work plan outlines priorities for 2022.

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PineandLakes Echo Journal file photo.
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PEQUOT LAKES — Meeting in special session Monday, Jan. 24, the Pequot Lakes City Council looked over a 2022 work plan that includes the following project priorities for city boards, commissions and departments:

  • City council: Patriot Avenue redesign team/project; continued focus on promoting the Heart of the Good Life project; and continue to promote Trailside Estates building projects.
  • Economic Development Commission: Assist the city with the vision to provide community services that help, enhance and continue the traditions of being a great place to live, work and play using the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation’s knowledge to have pointed recommendations for the city council; break ground on three projects in the Heart of the Good Life and interior lots; explore redefining the Pequot Lakes Housing and Redevelopment Authority; separate the maximum amount of land from the Heart of the Good Life tax-increment financing district and redefine housing; get involved and inform the community of potential build sites, water and sewer availability charges (WAC/SAC) and Heart of the Good Life; increase the city’s tax base; promote the school district; and encourage the city to bring in new businesses.
  • HRA Commission: HRA financial and personnel fixes.
  • Park Commission: Trailside Park improvements, including the splash pad, bathrooms, funding, parking lot, explore pickleball courts, replace the community billboard with a sign and lighting.
  • Planning Commission: Simplify zoning ordinances.
  • Fire department: Reach a workable solution to the Pequot Lakes/Breezy Point fire department conversation.
  • Library: Develop a Smart Room and hire a library coordinator.
  • Public works: Conclude the cooperative road project; Coleman Drive road fix; followup with continued and more frequent grading or fixes to the Ninth Avenue project.

Future priorities include the splash pad and bathrooms in Trailside Park.
HRA discussion

“There’s a lot to learn when it comes to HRA,” Mayor Tyler Gardner said, mentioning issues in the past with the HRA’s structure.

He’s trying to learn where tax levy money for the HRA goes and why the HRA was established. City Administrator Rich Spiczka said considering the city’s needs for housing, the city could work with the EDC and the access the HRA has to programs that provide funds.

Council members and HRA board members discussed the HRA operations and agreed they all need to learn more about the HRA.

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Council member Scott Pederson asked for a purpose and a mission statement.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Heard about grant funding opportunities for the splash pad.
  • Authorized the police department to hire a full-time officer in the wake of officer Pat Pickar’s resignation.

The council had tabled the officer hiring request earlier this month and instead asked the police department to provide information relating to the demand for that position, cost and the chief’s and officers’ scheduling.
After receiving that information, the council voted unanimously to hire another officer.

  • Changed the council’s regular meeting date for February from Feb. 1 (precinct caucus night) to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 8.

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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