The possibility of a Crow Wing Loop paving project in Akeley was discussed at the Jan. 13 city council meeting.

The council took the first step in a lengthy process by approving a resolution supporting the application for funding proposal at the county level. “This will start the ball rolling,” Mayor Brian Hitchcock said.

Approving the motion does not obligate the city in any way.

The Local Road Improvement Program that was tied in with the state bonding bill includes $75 million for local road improvements distributed through Minnesota Department of Transportation districts.

These grants are competitive and will provide 100 percent financing for the construction costs on the project. The application deadline is early March

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The city would be responsible for the other project costs, which are estimated at 30 to 35 percent of the total project cost, with engineer fees accounting for 15 to 18 percent of those. The city would also be responsible for costs related to legal and right-of-way issues, financing and administrative fees. It is recommended that 10 to 15 percent of the total project cost be added for contingencies.

The city’s portion would be due in about a year, allowing time to explore financing, obtain community letters of support and look into possibly assessing part of the cost to residents who live on the road and obtaining partial funding from the Department of Natural Resources.

Projects that target connectivity between various types of roads are preferred. Since Crow Wing Loop connects with the city campground and beach, that might give the project an edge in the grant process.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved its meeting schedule for 2021. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at city hall.

  • Approved commissioners for 2021 and consignments, including First National Bank of Walker as the city depository, Northwoods Press as the official newspaper and Steve Bolton as city attorney.

  • Approved contributing the same amount as last year to the Hubbard County Aquatic Invasive Species prevention program.

  • Approved the 2021 mileage reimbursement rate of 56 cents per mile.

  • Discussed posting days the city office is closed on the city website.

  • Approved following a mandated eyewitness identification policy, as presented by Police Chief Jimmy Hansen.

  • Heard from Hansen that there were three meth stops in Akeley for driving under the influence in December.

  • Heard that city park managers Curt and Paula Dormanen will not be returning for the 2021 season.

  • Approved reviewing the independent contractor position and duties for park manager before posting the opening.

  • Approved paying the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District bill in January rather than in March, as specified in the joint powers agreement.

  • Heard a report on the Akeley Community Parks Committee from Chuck Andress. Money from the Department of Natural Resources grant will have to be spent by June 22. He said the project could begin this summer and community funding sources are being explored.

  • Set a closed special meeting for an employee evaluation for city maintenance supervisor Kelly VandenEykl at 6 p.m. Jan. 20 at city hall.

  • Heard a concern about an old chimney at the Akeley Regional Community Center that needs to be taken down before it falls down. Hansen will talk to the ARCC staff.

The next city council meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 10 at City Hall.