Akeley City Campground could open May 20

Campers eager to come up north to the Akeley City Campground for the season should check the city website for updates.

Akeley campground.JPG
The popular Akeley city campground could open May 20 if the weather cooperates. Once an opening date is determined, the information will be posted on the city website.
Enterprise file photo.

Parks commissioner Billy Krotzer reported at Wednesday night’s council meeting that the park is still wet.

“With all that rain we’re going to get this week, it’s going to get wetter,” he said.

City workers tried to put some docks in at the campground, but “buried the backhoe.”

There was discussion that frost is still coming out of the ground, and spring is about a month behind. If the weather cooperates so docks can be put in, the campground could open next Friday, May 20.

Water tower inspection

Taking the first step toward getting a water tower inspection was discussed. First the jacking and insulation needs to be removed at an estimated cost of $3,000 to $4,000. There would then be a $5,300 ultrasonic magnetic inspection cost to determine the extent of repairs needed for the standpipe and tower. The council tabled making any decisions on water tower work until they can explore funding sources.


Liquor store questions answered

Minneapolis resident Neil Elavsky, who said in a May 7 letter in the Park Rapids Enterprise that he is an Akeley alumnus, questioned how Akeley Municipal Liquor Store manager Lacey Hitchcock obtained her position.

Council member Bobbie Wosika said she looked into past council meeting minutes and reported that at a special meeting March 31, 2010, Hitchcock, who had been a bartender for four years, was asked to fill the interim position of liquor store manager.

Wosika further reported that on April 12, 2010, the council held a special meeting to interview three candidates, including Hitchcock, for the liquor store manager position. Lacey’s husband, Brian Hitchcock, abstained from voting because of a conflict of interest. Candidates were scored and Lacey had the highest score of the three and was offered the position.

Next, Elavsky asked about the financial status of the municipal liquor store, claiming Stomping Grounds and the Red River Event Center are more profitable.

Mayor Brian Hitchcock said, if Elavsky wants to compare numbers, then he should have brought those numbers.

Council member Dan Riggs said if Elavsky wants to see how the liquor store is doing financially, he should look at the monthly budget reports and read the audit report.

Elavsky also questioned why Lacey Hitchcock is not regularly attending council meetings. He was told managers are not required to attend.

Water hydrant repairs

The council discussed the three types of hydrants in town, with 90% being the newer style. Worn springs on some of the older hydrants could cause problems due to the inability to completely shut off the hydrant, which could lead to them freezing up in winter.


Repairs will start with one that is currently leaking, with the council approving up to $1,524 for supplies. Other hydrants will be checked to estimate which need to be repaired or replaced to keep up with uptake by working to upgrade some each year.

Community parks project updateThe League of Minnesota Cities advised the city can’t send out a letter requesting funds for the Community Parks Project, but needs to set up a non-profit group to do this, which would cost a total of $580 for attorney and filing fees.

Marv Vredenburg suggested looking into whether the Akeley Veterans Outreach Organization could send out the letters. Action was tabled until this possibility can be explored.

In other business, the council:

  • Approved paying the Moore Engineering invoice for $682.
  • Opted not to waive statutory tort limits on liability coverage, as is done annually.
  • Approved a resolution showing support for a Local Government Aid formula update. If approved by the state legislature, the city would receive $107,00 next year compared to the $91,408 received this year.
  • Approved replacing a collapsed culvert with one from the county at a cost of up to $800 and using Tyler’s Backhoe Service for the project work at a cost of $2,500.

The next Akeley council meeting will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8 at city hall.

Lorie Skarpness has lived in the Park Rapids area since 1997 and has been writing for the Park Rapids Enterprise since 2017. She enjoys writing features about the people and wildlife who call the north woods home.
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