The Park Rapids City Council approved an engineering task order Tuesday to move forward with soil borings for the Depot Park tennis courts.

The soil boring study is a preliminary step toward replacing the deteriorating tennis courts, four of which are owned by the city and four by the school district.

City Planner Andrew Mack reported that an application for a Minnesota DNR Land and Water Conservation (LAWCON) program outdoor recreation grant to fund the project was not awarded this year. He noted that the program awarded $3 million out of $9 million worth of requests.

City engineer Jon Olson, a project engineer with Apex Engineering, presented Task Order 19, which includes two phases. Phase 1 comprises the soil borings, estimated to cost $4,300, and civil and structural design costing $20,000. Phase 2 engineering fees, for design through construction, are expected to run $23,500, for a total engineering services cost of $43,500.

Mack noted that the Park Rapids Tennis Association raised $23,390 in individual donations toward Phase 1. Other funding sources include a Park Rapids Community Fund grant of $2,500, a $5,000 pledge from Hubbard County and a recommended $4,860 from the city’s 20 percent share of the project.

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Mack and Olson hinted that moving forward with the soil boring study and preliminary engineering will boost the chances that the Tennis Association’s reapplication for the LAWCON grant will be successful.

Council member Erika Randall said she felt the task order was misleading because it didn’t clearly say that work will stop after Phase 1 is completed, and that Phase 2 will only proceed upon city council approval.

Randall moved to approve the task order with modifications to clarify this, and the motion passed unopposed.

Council member Tom Conway moved to approve the $4,300 bid from Terracon Consultants, Inc., of West Fargo, N.D. to perform the soil borings, planned for the week of Oct. 19 following the regional tennis tournaments. The motion passed unanimously.

Airport taxilanes

The council also authorized city staff to execute a Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) grant agreement for airport improvements.

According to the staff report in the council’s agenda packet, this agreement with MnDOT Aeronautics reduces the city’s usual 10 percent share of the project (to design additional hangar area taxilanes) to 8.82 percent, through federal CARES Act funding.

With a maximum estimated cost of $100,000, the agreement commits $64,692 in federal, $26,478 state and $8,828 local monies toward design work by TKDA, with city funding likely to come from municipal liquor store reserves.

The additional taxilanes will make it possible for prospective tenants to develop private hangars and for the city to develop more T-hangars to rent to aircraft owners.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Paid Sanquist Construction $8,910 to demolish a house at 301 5th St. E., property that was donated the city and added to Depot Park.

  • Paid Apex Engineering $48,117 for professional services on various projects, including improvement of the U.S. Hwy. 71 frontage roads, Career Path and Deer Road and the city’s water treatment plant.

  • Approved a wage adjustment and step increase for full-time police officer Kelli Seitz, increasing her pay to $25.58 per hour or the two-year step of the police union schedule, effective Sept. 8.

  • Approved a wage adjustment and step increase for Mathisrud, making his salary $276,835 per year (36.94 per hour) or the one-year step of the non-union wage scale, effective Aug. 19.

  • Accepted the resignation of Urban Forestry Committee member Steve Jones.

  • Approved payables totaling $82,263 and prepaids totaling $89,449.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22 at city hall.