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Hwy. 34 project delayed until 2023

Due to shifts in funding at the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the State Hwy. 34 project in Akeley has been pushed back a year from 2022 to 2023.

Project coordinator Laura Hadrava delivered the news at the April 10 Akeley City Council meeting.

"There has been a fairly recent development with our funding situation," she said. "Things have happened with budgets and having to shift projects around and Akeley's shift was one of the results of that."

Mayor Brian Hitchcock asked if that would change the price of the project.

"You can look at it as a bad thing or a good thing," Hadrava said. "You'll have another year to budget for the cost sharing for the lighting and parking lanes. If there is anything else the city would like to include in the project, you'll have more time to budget for that, too."

Hadrava asked the council about the roundabout. "It has been indicated that there's not a lot of excitement for something like that, but my question is it absolutely 'no'? Does the community feel very strongly about not wanting that?"

"All of the constituents I've talked to with the exception of one say they don't want it," council member Dan Riggs said.

Council member Bobbie Wosika said everyone she has talked to is against the roundabout, too.

Hitchcock said, after watching the video about this type of roundabout, he thinks it is something people could navigate easily.

In other action, the council:

• Heard the city's Board of Appeal and Equalization will be held at noon Tuesday, April 23 at city hall.

• Took no action on a proposal from Bemidji Bituminous for paving Marie Avenue at a cost of $11,920 and Pleasant Ave. to Franklin for $17,500 for a total cost of $29,420 plus $20 a ton as needed for Class 5. "It's a shame we can't," mayor Brian Hitchcock said. "We don't have enough money."

• Discussed an ongoing road issue at 2nd Street and Hwy. 34 that the city is responsible for. City Maintenance Supervisor Kelly VandenEykel has set out cones to alert motorists to the problem. Using barricades was also discussed. The council discussed having the blacktop dug out, filling and paving.

• Discussed a trailer on Graceson Ave. with a collapsed roof in the city that has cats living inside. The property owner, Janelle Klier, lives in Park Rapids. Akeley Police Chief Jimmy Hansen said Klier told him she is letting the property go back to the county for delinquent taxes. A motion for no action at this time was approved.

• Heard a report from Chuck Andress of the Akeley Community Projects Committee they are working on grants as the project keeps getting bigger. While they did not get the state funding for the paving of Crow Wing Lake Drive they are going to look at other sources of funding to help support the project and then reapply next November.

• Approved Bruce Beckley, Lorrie Robbins, Karly George, Nathan George and Frank Lamb to the Akeley Housing and Redevelopment Authority for staggered five-year terms following appointment by Hitchcock.

• Approved a $600 donation for the Sentence to Serve crew for park cleanup.

• Heard spring cleanup days in Akeley have been tentatively set for May 11-12 depending on dumpster availability.

• Approved a gambling contract with the East Hubbard County Fire District that includes electronic pull tabs as well as traditional pull tabs and bar bingo. Monthly rent is 15 percent of gross profits for electronic gaming and 20 percent for all other games.

• Rescinded a motion from March to renew the city's haying contract with Larry Buck since he no longer does haying. Approved a new motion giving the seven-year haying contract to Dan Splitstoesser.

• Heard the 2018 drinking water report is available at city hall.

• Heard City Administrator Krisi Kath will be attending a one-day training regarding loss control, computer security and other topics in St. Cloud this month.

• Tabled action on a resolution regarding the administration of the Minnesota Wetland Conservation Act until the May council meeting. The Hubbard County Soil and Water Conservation District sent a letter about the option of having them as the administrator.