Memorial for Akeley ice racer to be revived

Akeley City Campground managers hope to replant vegetation around the monument to Tim Kriens. Editor's note: This article has been updated with additional information from Akeley City Clerk Kristi Kath to correct a resident's statement at the meeting.

This memorial to Tim Kriens is in need of some TLC, say Akeley City Campground managers. They are seeking funds from the community, Akeley Ice Racing Club and the Akeley City Council.

Rick and Kathy Cole, the new managers at Akeley City Campground, are busy making improvements.

At the June 9 Akeley City Council meeting, Rick sought approval to remove dead vegetation around a memorial to Tim Kriens, a motorcycle ice racer. It was installed in the 1990s, he said.
“It’s a beautiful granite monument right by our flagpole,” Rick said, however 90 percent of the evergreen ground cover is dead.

He offered to talk to the Akeley Ice Racing Club about contributing money, along with the city, to plant new foliage.

The council approved clearing the overgrown vegetation.

“We’ll make it beautiful again,” Rick said.


Rick also noted that a torrential rain a few years ago washed out a lot of the road headed to the south end of the campground. It was filled in with rocks, but Rick said, “It’s really rough for anybody and any kind of vehicle, especially bicycles, golf carts, things like that going down that hill. That is a primary access for most of our seasonal campsites.”

He suggested purchasing three or four dump truck loads of crushed concrete and applying calcium chloride on top, estimating it might cost a few thousand dollars.

“It’s one of the more important improvements I’d like to see happen to the campground at this time,” he said.

Council member Dan Riggs said calcium chloride is not an option because it would wash into 11th Crow Wing Lake.

Mayor Brian Hitchcock said money is available in the city’s park fund.

Utilities maintenance superintendent Reid Watson said he would get estimates for crushed concrete, crushed granite or asphalt.

The Coles recently applied three dump truck loads of class 5 gravel to potholes on the road leading to rotating campsites.

In other business, the council:


  • Acknowledged a $1,000 donation from the Itasca-Mantrap Cooperative Electrical Association for the Akeley Paul Bunyan Trailhead project.

  • Approved a request to fly the American flag at half-staff for the July 10 funeral of Neal Todd, who died in the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and whose remains were recently identified.

  • Learned that the Akeley Municipal Liquor Store is understaffed. Manager Lacey Hitchcock suggested combining a cleaning/stocking position in order to pay $14 per hour. Riggs recommended finding a cleaning service.

  • Approved the purchase of 14 bar chairs for the liquor store, totalling $2,555, plus shipping.

  • Learned the Eastern Hubbard County Fire District will purchase a 2007 pumper/tanker, costing $139,950, from Great Lakes Pre-Owned Fire Apparatus.

  • Discussed the cost of extending city sewer to 185 Grand Avenue. Bruce Beckley owns the undeveloped parcel and is interested in dividing it into three lots for house rentals. Mike Hubner of AE Operations said an 8-inch main line and two manholes would cost $45,000 or a 2-inch force main line $13,000. Due to elevation issues, Hubner explained that Beckley would be responsible for installing mini lift stations for each home. In a letter, city attorney Steve Bolton said Akeley does not have a city ordinance that specifically deals with the city’s obligations in this particular situation. Bolton said the city does not have to provide city sewer service to Beckley, but can if it wishes to. No action was taken.

  • Authorized bidding up to $6,500 on a used road maintenance trailer that would be used to spray and preserve city roads.

  • Approved the replacement of a multiparameter colorimeter for water monitoring, up to $1,500.

  • Heard an inquiry from Kristin Fake about the liquor store’s non-sufficient funds (NSF) policy since there were $6,600 in NSF checks in the audit. The council replied that they had not found a better policy, so it is unchanged. After the meeting, Akeley City Clerk Kristi Kath clarified that the amount in the 2020 audit was $6,141. In addition, Kath said that figure reflects a cumulative total over the course of more than 10 years. The actual amount of NSF checks at the liquor store for 2020 was $635.13, of which some has already been repaid, Kath said.

The council closed the meeting for employee evaluations of Hitchcock, Watson and Police Chief Jimmy Hansen.

Shannon Geisen is editor of the Park Rapids Enterprise.
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