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City council approves first reading of revised golf cart ordinance

The Park Rapids City Council approved the first reading to amend the city code and allow some types of recreational vehicles and motorized golf carts on city streets.

The Park Rapids City Council approved the first reading to amend the city code and allow some types of recreational vehicles and motorized golf carts on city streets.

According to the amended ordinance, residents looking to operate golf carts or Class 2 all-terrain vehicles on city streets must obtain a permit, which will be granted for one year and may be renewed annually from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31. A Class 2 all-terrain vehicle is most often referred to as a side-by-side.

Permit applicants must have a current valid driver's license or submit a certificate signed by a physician that the applicant is able to safely operate a motorized golf cart on the roadways. Applicant must also supply proof of insurance to operate a golf cart or Class 2 all-terrain vehicle.

Motorized golf carts and Class 2 all-terrains may only operate on designated roadways from sunrise to sunset, unless equipped with original equipment, including headlights, taillights, and rear-facing brake lights.

The vehicles are not allowed to operate on Highways 34 or 71, but may cross these at intersecting city streets.

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Permit applications may be picked up at City Hall and in or to obtain a permit golf carts and Class 2 vehicles will be inspected by the Chief of Police.

The city issued permit sticker must be clearly visible and displayed on the left back of the vehicle at least 12 inches from the ground.

The City Council may suspend or revoke a permit granted upon finding that the permit holder has violated any of the provisions in the amended ordinance.

Sunday liquor sales

Sunday liquor sales are permitted under state law during the hours of operation from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., starting Sunday, July 2. Individual stores can choose to open or remain closed.

Rapids Spirits Manager Scott Olson informed the City Council on Tuesday the city-operated liquor store will remain closed on Sundays.

Olson told the council he has talked with other liquor stores in the area and most prefer to remain closed because it does not look like Sunday sales would benefit most stores.

COPS grant

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The City Council gave approval to the Park Rapids Police Chief Jeff Appel to pursue a COPS police officer hiring grant.

The grant provides a total of $125,000 over a four year hiring commitment to assist police departments in hiring a new full-time officer. The $125,000 can be used over the first three years of the officer's employment, with the fourth year being the responsibility of the city.

Chief Appel noted the $125,000 covers approximately just over 50 percent of the officer's wages and benefits over the first three years of employment with the city. A new full-time officer with the Park Rapids PD costs the city approximately $70,115 in year one, $77,451 in year two, $83,294 in year three, for a total approximate cost of $230,861.

The PD has identified a full-time officer staffing shortage as a possible area of concern within the police department. The PD will apply for this grant as a possible funding option to add one full-time officer in 2018. The council on Tuesday approved the request to pursue the grant, not to hire a full-time officer at this time.

Community Service Specialist

The council approved the creation of a seasonal part-time Community Service Specialist position to help deal certain city nuisance and zoning ordinance violations. These issues include: long grass, noxious weeds, dead trees, sign violations, fence issues, stormwater issues, pet complaints, junk vehicles, accumulations of debris and rubbish, and property maintenance issues.

Complaints are primarily received during the summer when violations become more apparent. These complaints currently go to various department heads or police officers to investigate and abate these issues. According to information presented to the council on Tuesday, addressing these problems efficiently takes time, education, and consistent enforcement effort to resolve when working with individual property owners and renters. This currently is not being accomplished with the peak workload by staff or sworn officers during the summer.

The position was approved on a trial basis for the summer to handle these issues.

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Other business approved by the council:

• Appointed Joseph Carlson and Chad Grande to the positions of volunteer firefighter

• Public facilities use permit for the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce for the Fourth of July Parade

• Public facilities use permit for the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to use the second block of Main Avenue South on Thursday, Aug. 10 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. for Legends and Logging Days Water Wars

• Public facilities use permit for Northern Knights Car Club to use blocks 1, 2 and 3 of Main Avenue South on Saturday, Aug. 13 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the Run to the Rapids Car Show

• Pay request in the amount of $26,555 for TKDA for engineering service for the 2016 Apron and Taxiway A Rehab at the municipal airport

Related Topics: PARK RAPIDS
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