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Pequot Lakes Mayor's Notebook: Rumors about Trailside Park plans addressed

Kerfuffle - a British slang word that means "squabble" or "scuffle." Such a perfect word for what seems to be happening currently in Pequot Lakes regarding Trailside Park.

Some background is appropriate. After the March city council meeting, my husband and I took a long-planned, three-week trip. We are fortunate to be of an age where travel for a period of time is possible, the city now has an extremely capable administrator, and March is a delightful time to travel because there are fewer tourists (like us) around.

At some point during my absence, an anonymous petition was started asking people to sign in opposition to plans for Trailside Park. Unfortunately, a great deal of the information was incomplete or totally inaccurate.

A prime example is the first statement: "As early as April 1, Patriot Avenue will close permanently."

Two things are wrong with this. Let's start with the April 1 date. The TRUE fact is that the city can do nothing until it takes possession of the roads. As of April 1, and probably May 1, the Minnesota Department of Transportation still will own Patriot Avenue because for Pequot Lakes to take possession of Patriot Avenue, MnDOT has to first turn it over to Crow Wing County and then Crow Wing County has to turn it over to the city.

This might (and it's a very big might) happen in June.

Second is the mystifying statement that "Patriot Avenue will close permanently." Do they mean Patriot Avenue from the south junction of Highway 371 all the way to the north Highway 371 junction? Do they mean Patriot Avenue from Lake Street (to the school) or Woodman Avenue (south of the chamber building) to Grove Street?

The statement is totally confusing and misleading. The TRUE fact is that the park design plan for the last two and one half years clearly shows one block of Patriot Avenue being removed - from the stoplight to Sibley Street (by the lumber yard) to create a town square concept.

Three other rumors have been floating around that need to be cleared up. Yes, there is a splash pad planned; but please know this is just one of numerous amenities planned in Phase I (others are a pond for ice skating in winter, a multipurpose building with bathrooms, flag display, etc.).

To be very clear, it has not been decided if city water will be used or if a well will be dug; but no matter which decision is made, residents on city water will NOT be charged for the water.

In addition, of the estimated $200,000 for this feature, $120,000 has already been secured. Second, the total cost of improvements is estimated to be $1.7 million. That is correct; but it is only a part of the story. A huge part is to seek donations to defray most, if not all, of the costs, as previously mentioned.

Finally, when you hear the rumor that Bean Hole Day has been cancelled due to construction, do not believe that one; it is absolutely, positively false! Bean Hole Days will continue to be held in the south portion of Trailside Park, just like in previous years.

What can you do to help? Obviously, by reading this article you clearly have accurate information. When you hear someone saying something that is incorrect, please, please, please, politely point out the facts.

If you have other questions regarding the park, please join the council at its special meeting on Monday, April 23, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. We'd love to see you.

And as always, I'm at the library in the morning; feel free to stop by.

And thanks for reading this article!