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City supports 2012 fishing opener bid

The Park Rapids City Council, at the behest of Chamber exec Katie Magozzi, expressed unanimous support for the community's bid to host the 2012 Governor's Fishing Opener.

"We're asking for a partner, Magozzi told the council. "The city has done magnificent things for business by partnering with downtown."

This partnership, she said, would make additional resources available, adding another level of support.

The timing of the opener is a means to capitalize on the city's revitalization, she said, the event to be held at the completion of construction. This will be in addition to showcasing the area's recreational, historic and scenic beauty.

"It will be a wonderful, fine start to the 2012 tourist season," she said.

City administrator Bill Smith questioned what would be expected of the city.

Direct funding, Magozzi said, is not being requested but additional law enforcement would be needed. Volunteers will be recruited to assist with dinners and picnics, including transportation.

"We have a number of events to pull off," she said. "We need solid, broad-based support.

"It's cheap to be cheerleaders," Smith said, pointing out the work for the sheriff's and police departments increases this time of year. "But are we ready to assume this?"

Mayor Nancy Carroll indicated the city would work to "pull it together." The last Governor's Opener in Park Rapids was in 1979.

"We're a little overdue," she said.

In other action, the council:

n Heard concerns from Maurice and Carolyn Spangler regarding bikes crossing Highway 34 from the Heartland Trail.

Maurice Spangler suggested a yellow flashing light at the crossing.

Concerns with pedestrian crossings are nothing new, Carroll commented of the two main highways intersecting in the city.

"MnDOT is acutely aware of the concerns," Smith said. "But traffic counts do not support action."

City engineer Jon Olson said the Minnesota Department of Transportation has features to address crossings, citing the vertical signs posted on Bemidji thoroughfares. He indicated he would apply for signage.

n Heard a proposal from Lu Ann Hurd-Lof on behalf of the Downtown Business Association regarding employee parking at 309 3rd Street East (former Gilbert's property) during construction, August through September.

The proposal calls for a year's lease at $1 between the city and property owner, obtaining liability insurance and a maintenance agreement.

Carroll expressed concern with crossing Highway 71. But Sue Tomte indicated the proposal gives employees "direction" as to parking.

n Approved extending the sidewalk on the north side of 6th Street from Pleasant Avenue to Heritage at a cost of $26,000. The money would be appropriated from the construction project's contingency fund.