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Pequot Lakes: Road turnback process progressing

As a formality only, the Pequot Lakes City Council temporarily renamed Patriot Avenue (the former two-lane Highway 371 through town) as part of the process to become owner of the road.

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As a formality only, the Pequot Lakes City Council temporarily renamed Patriot Avenue (the former two-lane Highway 371 through town) as part of the process to become owner of the road.

Called the "road turnback process," the former state highway must become a county road for the state to give the road to Crow Wing County. In turn, the county will turn the road back to the city.

So the council on Tuesday, April 3, renamed Patriot Avenue as County State Aid Highway 17 as part of the turnback process. This formality will not affect any addresses; the road is still Patriot Avenue.

It is anticipated Patriot Avenue will become the city's road possibly by June, when the council also would receive around $4 million to take over that road and a portion of Main Street and Rasmussen Road in the city. The city will then be responsible for maintenance of those roads.

City land

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The council approved a schematic layout for the 80-plus acres of land south of the Pequot Lakes Business Park that the Economic Development Commission recommended. Council member Scott Pederson voted no.

The layout includes the city maintenance facility that will be built on the northern portion of property next to Highway 371. Pederson has advocated for a different location for that building.

The schematic layout of the property on the west side of the four-lane highway includes other plots of land as well as a potential softball/baseball/soccer field athletic complex on the southernmost part.

Public safety

The council approved the 2018 fire protection agreement with Nisswa for $1,632, plus $111 for the Firemen's Relief Association. The Nisswa Fire Department provides fire protection to the Inland Trails area of Pequot Lakes.

Firefighters had three calls in February, including a fire alarm caused by hot water steam in Pequot Lakes, mutual aid structure fire in Nisswa and a structure fire in Loon Lake Township.

Police had 316 calls for service in February, including alarm, burglary, suspicious activity and property damage accident.

In other business April 3, the council:

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• Learned the 2019 budget process will begin in May. To give direction to department heads, the council asked for no increase in the tax rate. That doesn't mean the general tax levy won't increase, however.

City Administrator Nancy Malecha said department heads can aim for that request, but the council will have to make decisions on large projects that are upcoming.

• Declared a fifth-wheel recreation vehicle from Virgil Dahl's property as abandoned property so the city can dispose of it.

• Agreed to have the planning commission look into a couple of issues regarding public nuisance properties. As the city attempts to clean up properties in the city, it is finding the need to amend the city code and ordinances to allow certain actions.

• Agreed not to reclassify a tax-forfeited parcel of land adjacent to South Heath Street until neighboring property becomes tax-forfeited as well so the two properties can be sold together. The properties have no buildings on them.

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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