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Park Rapids Council reviews capital improvement plans

By Jean Ruzicka

The Park Rapids Council held a work session this week to review the city’s capital improvement plan for the next few years.

Among the 2015 proposed projects are Phase I Riverside Area street and utility improvements at an estimated cost of $3.1 million, Mill Road drainage improvements at a cost of $35,000 and North Main Avenue street and utility upgrades at an estimated cost of $591,000.

The Riverside project is expected to continue in 2016 at a cost of $1.5 million. Charles Street and Career Path will see improvements at an estimated cost of $1 million.

Discovery Circle is on the to-do list in 2017, with street and utility improvements of $1.3 million proposed, as are Grove, Franklin, 2nd, 3rd and alleys, with an estimated $1.4 million price tag. Fair, Front, 5th and alleys are projected to see upgrades at $2.4 million, as are South Main and 11th Street, $825,000.

In 2018, projects include street and utility improvements on Stevens, Front, 2nd 3rd, 4th and alleys at $2.1 million; mill and overlay on North Shore and East River Drive, $450,000, and Western Avenue, $600,000.

Industrial Park, Phase II is on the agenda for 2019, with $2.1 million estimated for street and utility improvements and Northwest Area Phase I, $3.2 million in upgrades.

Phase II of the Northwest Area project will run an estimated $3.5 million in 2020. And Kaywood Drive is forecast to receive $1.8 million in street and utility improvements in 2021, along with 8th and 12th Streets and Eastern Avenue, $2.7 million.

The council also reviewed additional projects and costs for future years, including a fire hall expansion next year of $700,000 and $1.5 million for airport improvements.

In other action, the council:

n Approved the hiring of police officer Robert Gilmore.

Eight had applied with six interviewed. He currently works part time for the sheriff’s department as a transport officer.

He starts Dec. 1.

n Swore in Pat Mikesh as mayor and Erika Randall and Paul Utke as council members.

Randall said friends were of the impression she’d lost the election, assuming only one council member was to be elected. She received 785 votes; Utke earned 921.

n Approved a conditional use permit allowing a dog grooming service at 301 Eastern Ave. South.

The Planning Commission added conditions, including revocation of the permit upon conviction of violating the public nuisance ordinance (i.e. barking dogs).

n Approved a conditional use permit for installation of a 135-foot AT&T telecommunications tower and shelter at 212 Second Street West.

n Approved the first reading of an ordinance rezoning land from single family residential to business at 218 8th Street East in order to construct a building for cold storage of seed products for CHS, Inc.

n Approved the first reading to repeal a city boat and watercraft ordinance, which by state statute is enforced by the county sheriff.

Police can issue tickets, police chief Terry Eilers explained. But the department lacks the resources to enforce it on a regular basis.

n After seeking legal counsel, approved a license agreement for a handicap access ramp for property owned by Thom Peterson at 205 2nd Street. A permit fee of $175 was recommended.

“This justifies special consideration,” council member Rod Nordberg said of the “historical building,” the former jail.

“Having a tenant is to the city’s advantage.”

n Heard updates on the Public Works Building from city administrator John McKinney who reported roof holes have been caulked. “To our knowledge, the roof is secure. We’ll wait until spring to see if it leaks.”

The city will look at possibly recovering costs.

Eilers suggested the walls be checked for mold.

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