The Akeley City Council will hold a special meeting on Zoom to discuss the city campground’s plans for this summer, beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 26.

For more information on joining, visit the city website or call the city office at 652-2465.

Marv Vredenburg, who is one of the park’s seasonal campers, told the council at their May 13 meeting that he hopes the campground will be able to open by June 1.

“I totally agree and we’d like to do everything we can to help you guys, but we have to wait until we find out what the governor decides,” Park Commissioner Billy Krotzer said.

“If the governor gave the green light, I imagine that upon having a special meeting we could move to open it within a day or two,” council member Dan Riggs said.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Gov. Walz said campgrounds can open on June 1 with social-distancing measures.

“The thing I see would be a problem with opening is the restrooms,” said Akeley Public Works Supervisor Kelly VandenEykl. “When you’ve got a public restroom somebody’s got to clean it. It’s the same thing with everyone asking me when I’m going to open the bathrooms at Paul’s Patio. I’m not because I don’t want to clean them and my guys don't want to clean them, so it’s kind of ‘golly knows who's been in there and what they’ve got with them.’ That’s the scary part about opening anything up (during the COVID19 pandemic), cleaning the restrooms.”

“There are going to be a lot of questions to be answered at the special meeting,” Mayor Brian Hitchcok said.

In other action the council:

  • Heard the city has been approved for a $10,000 implementation grant from Source Water Protection towards a generator for the water plant. VandenEykel said the total cost will be a lot more. Another generator would be needed to run the lift stations. The city could apply for additional grant funding to help with that.

  • Heard a request from a resident to paint a crosswalk on Hwy. 64 by the Methodist church. VandenEykel will talk to someone at the state about the request and will be repainting other crosswalks in town this summer. TJ Melcher with the Minnesota Department of Transportation cautioned mid-block crosswalks can be dangerous. “With no other enforcing technique to get drivers to slow down, pedestrians who often pay less attention at a crosswalk could be at risk,” he said. “They feel safer because there’s a crosswalk so they take more chances. If the driver’s not paying attention, that’s a recipe for disaster.”

  • Heard the Akeley Community Projects Committee has not met during the past two months. They are waiting to hear about Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and AARP grants to help with the Heartland Park project that is expected to start in 2022. A grant of $64,000 has been accepted, which brings the total to about $120,000 going toward the project so far. The proposed parking lot size went from 90 cars to 50 cars. The council rescinded a previous motion for the city to pay $6,250 toward the project and approved paying an amount not to exceed $6,510.

The next regular council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 10. It has not yet been determined if this meeting will be via Zoom or held at city hall.