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The old railroad tressle built in 1927 will be replaced this fall with a metal bridge that can carry more weight. (Jean Ruzicka / Enterprise)

Akeley's old railroad tressle will be replaced by modern metal bridge

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The Akeley railroad trestle, built in 1927, according to Department of Natural Resources records, will be replaced with a modern, metal bridge this fall.

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The Akeley Council learned of the plans to replace the 314-foot structure this week. Engineers have determined the current bridge is capable of holding 1,500 pounds. The new 10-foot-wide bridge will carry 10,000 pounds, accommodating a snowmobile trail groomer.

"And there will be no hobos to move out," David Schotzko, DNR area supervisor for state parks and trails, reported/lamented.

As a child on his grandfather's farm, Schotzko said he developed a fascination for the homeless travelers, a railroad running nearby. Trestles, he discovered, served as shelter for the nomads.

He's studied the symbols left behind on trestle walls to inform future occupants of the area's pitfalls and advantages - "good food, mean dog, unfriendly land owner" among them.

But Akeley apparently had no vagabonds taking up residence under the bridge, he said - or none who left symbols that weathered the test of time.

In other action, the council:

n Learned via legal opinion from city attorney Steve Bolton that the city is under no obligation to hire members of the Dean Krotzer family to maintain the Paul Bunyan statue, as the family has long maintained.

Bolton stated in researching the issue, he found no "contractual obligation" to hire the Krotzers.

In a memo to mayor Jennifer Mitchell, he said he is "under the impression" the U.S. Code pertaining to authors/artists does not apply in this case because "the modification of a work of visual art which is the result of passage of time or the inherent nature of the materials is not a distortion, mutilation or other modification described" in the subsection.

n Heard a report from city auditor Judy Moravec who stated the city is in "good financial condition" but an increase in water and sewer rates are needed, she cautioned.

n Approved a fishing pier agreement with the state, the city to receive a new dock on 11th Crow Wing in the near future.

Mitchell expressed some trepidation regarding "unresolved details" and Frank Thelin questioned maintenance, but the council, citing past precedent, approved the agreement.

n Appointed Lacey Hitchcock as liquor store manager at $12.50 per hour.

Hitchcock reported repairs/replacements are needed for heating units at the liquor store. The council asked for price quotes. A freezer replacement is also needed.

Negative earnings of $983 were reported in March, negative $254 year-to-date.

The council agreed to stop appropriating 20 percent of the rent from gambling funds to the Community Fund for a six-month period.

Brian Hitchcock, who made the suggestion, indicated the appropriation skews the actual liquor store income.

n Reported dram shop insurance has dropped $500 in cost.

n Approved a no-increase fire contract with Eastern Hubbard County Fire District in the amount of $20,100 with a pumper payment of $4,689, totaling $24,789. First Response is asking for a donation of $1,500.

n Approved donations from the city for Paul Bunyan Days of $500 for portable toilets and $200 for dumpsters.

n Will seek estimates for painting and staining the front of the city hall.

n Accepted the resignations of Wendy Klein as assistant clerk and Robert Winner as liquor store manager.

n Approved hiring a assistant clerk, with up to 20 hours a week.

n Agreed to donate $500 to the SAFE Parks Program, offering summer activities for children.

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