Pequot Lakes splash pad will open in spring 2023
Council talks about Patriot Avenue test design, wastewater improvements, housing while meeting at new time and day
PEQUOT LAKES — All council members and city staff showed up at the right time on the right day for the Pequot Lakes City Council’s regular October meeting.
Starting this month, the council moved its regular meetings to the first Monday (instead of Tuesday) of the month, and to 6 p.m. (instead of 6:30 p.m.), meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3, at city hall to tackle the following business.
Area residents and visitors will have to wait through one more winter season to use the city’s long-awaited splash pad.
“It works,” said Nick Roy, lead maintenance worker with the public works department.
Water was hooked up and Commercial Recreation Services, the company that constructed the turnkey splash pad, helped set up controls Monday, Oct. 3. The Department of Health must inspect the splash pad before it opens in spring 2023.
Remaining optimistic, a grand opening and ribbon cutting is scheduled Thursday, May 25, before the Memorial Day holiday weekend.
Benches and pavers will be installed in the spring. Fundraising for the splash pad continues.
Patriot Avenue test section
After discussing the summerlong test design on a block of Patriot Avenue, the council decided to take the next step and obtain a more formal design for the street from city engineer Widseth.
The design will include West Lake Street to Sibley Street at a cost not to exceed $10,000.
Council member Cheri Seils was opposed.
The test design block that ran from the Main Street stoplights to Sibley Street (by Builders FirstSource) started right before July 4 and ran through September.
Council member Dan Ronning said initial comments were negative when people didn’t understand it was a test section with a goal to slow traffic and offer more parking spots.
Another goal was to connect the east and west sides of the road/town.
People thought parking spaces were too small as well.
Mayor Tyler Gardner agreed, and said the north end of the test section where the road zig-zagged was confusing.
A suggestion was to keep traffic traveling on the west side and have angled parking next to Trailside Park on the east side.
Council member Scott Pederson suggested city engineer Widseth offer a more detailed plan with design options and potential costs.
The council agreed to submit an application for a Small Cities Development Program grant for a force main project. Application fee is $3,640.
The city is requesting a $600,000 grant. Other funds being sought total $3,040 for a total estimated project cost of $3,640,000.
The city needs a comprehensive wastewater improvement project because the aging system has had two critical breaks in the main force main - in October 2021 and February 2022.
The city seeks the SCDP grant to use with Public Facilities Authority funding to complete the project in 2023.
The Pequot Lakes Fire District had five calls to Breezy Point, one to Jenkins, four to Pequot Lakes and one to Jenkins Township in September. Calls included two motor vehicle accidents with injuries in Breezy Point, one motor vehicle accident with injuries in Jenkins and an outside equipment fire in Pequot Lakes.
Pequot Lakes police had 281 calls for service in August.
In other business Oct. 3, the council:
- Agreed to amend a chapter of the city code to: modify the purpose and intent of the Patriot Development District and to allow apartments and/or multi-family dwellings as a conditional use; and to create provisions for and allow accessory dwelling units, amend definitions and revise the land use matrix.
Proposed are multi-family dwellings (65 units) in the Heart of the Good Life development. Other housing projects are in the works throughout the community as well.
And the council adopted a Downtown Plan update. The plan was last adopted in 2014. In 2019, the council directed the planning commission to update the plan because of the realignment of HIghway 371.
Those discussions were suspended until 2021 because of COVID-19.
- Hired Taylor Johnson as a city maintenance worker.
- Thanked Steve Caouette for his service on the planning and zoning commission after he resigned. His term runs through 2023 so there is an opening on the commission.
Received an update on road projects:
- Two bids will be opened Wednesday, Oct. 5, for Ninth Avenue Southwest/Myers Road improvements. Loon Lake Township is included.
- Bid was accepted from Schrupp Excavating for $15,385 to reroute the upper section of Coleman Drive and adjust Pequot Boulevard.
- Ideal Township wants to move forward on Nelson/Wild Acres road improvements.
- The city will request Crow Wing County to put Patriot Avenue on the chip sealing contract for the next construction season.
- Bid was obtained from Anderson Brothers for $16,175 to pave the unpaved portion of McGill Street.
- Complaints are continual regarding parking on South Oak Street spilling into other side streets that intersect with South Oak.
- Agreed to spend $196,489 in American Rescue Plan Act funds on various projects.
- Discussed upcoming changes in staff duties with the retirement of Zoning Specialist Dawn Bittner at the end of November.
Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or firstname.lastname@example.org . Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Nancy.