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Akeley Council eyes upgrades for Paul Bunyan, campground

The Akeley Council eyed upgrades to the Paul Bunyan statue and the campground this week, asking parks commissioner Jon Johnson to draft recommendations on both.

Steve Krotzer, who with his father, Dean, was one of the original creators of the statue, indicated he would volunteer time to repair it, liquor store manager Bob Winner told the council.

Krotzer inquired as to the amount the city was willing to pay for materials and other costs.

The statue appears to have been intentionally damaged as well as paint peeling from Paul's waist down.

The cost to paint the structure a few years ago was $13,000.

Mayor Scott Vettleson asked if area organizations would be willing to donate. "It's Akeley's identity," he said. "We have to keep it up."

Kathy Duclos questioned if money earmarked several years ago for a tennis court could be used.

Johnson indicated if more money is to be spent on the statue, he wants to see how it's allocated.

He agreed to sit down with members of the Krotzer family to determine costs.

Johnson also suggested upgrades to the city campground to accommodate larger recreational vehicles as well as dock repair and replacement, sand at the beach, additional lighting and other needs.

Vettleson asked for a proposal and a timeline.

Frank Thelin reported the boat landing and pier are in need of upgrades and repair but the Department of Natural Resources is lacking personnel to assist.

"We have the floats and the gangway," he told the council. "But I can't get down there with the equipment."

He said the city also has the cement pads for the landing. "But the DNR can't furnish manpower or machinery."

Galen Negen, recruited by Vettleson, agreed to look at the sites.

Volunteers were being asked to assist with work expected to begin Friday.

In other action, the council:

-Approved a C&C summer market to be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays from May 22 through Oct. 22.

Duclos reported the C&C is joining Walker, Hackensack and Longville for "Fall Has It All" days Sept. 18-19, 26-27 and Oct. 3-4.

A classic car tour beginning in Walker will head west to Akeley where the vintage cars will be parked at an angle on Broadway for an hour.

The tour will continue to Hackensack and Longville.

-Thelin reported he's seeking gravel estimates to submit to FEMA to repair water damage on Crow Wing Lake Drive, 2nd and Hulet and at the campground.

-Learned Ulteig engineers are asking the city for a capital improvement plan regarding road upgrades.

-Reported liquor store earnings of $348 in April, $1,488 year to date.

"The opening was terrible," Winner said of patronage last weekend. "But it has been down substantially the past few years."

With 30,000 additional licenses sold this year, "I thought we'd have a better opener," Winner said.

Last year's year to date earnings were negative $24.

-Approved a motion not to donate the requested $4,000 for Paul Bunyan Days.

"If the committee was part of the C&C, this wouldn't be an issue," Eric Sjolin commented.