BAXTER — What do Baxter residents expect from the new Riverview Park?
A public meeting, with a date yet to be set, will give residents a chance to provide that input to Baxter officials. Tuesday the Baxter City Council talked about putting in boulders and a gate to protect the land from potential vehicle damage, providing minimal mowing to clear a path for kayakers and canoeists and establishing a sign.
“We should probably have that (public) meeting before we do anything,” said Council member Todd Holman.
Council member Jim Klein said the recommendation from the park commission was to have minimal maintenance. Staff provided data on costs for additional amenities. The park is off Forestview Road and Riverwood Road.
“I don’t have a problem with the rocks. I don’t have a problem with the gates. I don’t have a problem putting a Ferris Wheel down there,” Klein said, adding he wasn’t sure the neighbors would be as excited about the last idea. Klein said the city should give residents a chance to use the park. Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson said protecting the park with boulders and a gate was more important than adding picnic tables right now. Olson said he isn’t feeling the pressure for additional amenities at the park beside mowing it and protecting it.
“Let’s kind of take it in steps,” said Council member Rob Moser.
Klein suggested having a picnic table, for a couple hundred dollars, to give residents a place to sit. Moser said he wasn’t against picnic tables or benches but suggested working on the park in phases.
Neighbor reaction is one of the reasons the council wanted to start with a public meeting. Consensus at the meeting was to start small and then perhaps expand to picnic tables and a boardwalk over the wetland in 2013.
“I really want to get some public input on this first,” Holman said.
The discussion came at a work session before and after the regular council session. Council member Mark Cross was absent Tuesday.
In other business, the council:
Approved Lakes Area Triathlon event in August. The Kiwanis Club is hosting a children’s triathlon on Aug. 25 and adult triathlon on Aug. 26 using Whipple Beach as the event focal point. Last year, the adult event has 407 registered participants with about 283 children and about 70 volunteers.
Authorized a retroactive inter-fund loan to Grand Oaks Townhomes using tax-increment financing district. The city reported “the short-term loan will cover the current and projected administrative costs of the district until sufficient increment is generated in the district to repay the loan.”
Spent time discussing approving the money paid for the pumps and control panel for two lift stations when Klein objected to paying the sales tax, saying it was like giving the contractor a blank check. Trevor Walter, public works director/city engineer, said they estimate the sales tax but until they do the final tally they don’t know the total final sales tax to be paid to the state. Walter said the bids can be done in the future to include the sales tax but he said contractors will likely put in a bigger cushion to pay it.
Moser said understood Klein’s comments, but added he is confident staff is overseeing it and if something didn’t look right would call that to the contractor’s attention.
“If you watch the pennies the dollars take care of themselves,” Klein said. He voted against two motions with sales tax added.
Re-established precincts and polling places: Precinct 1E at Lord of Life Church, 6190 Fairview Road; Precinct 1W at Baxter City Hall, 13190 Memorywood Drive; Precinct 2E at Assembly of God Youth Building, 13198 Berrywood Drive; Precinct 2W at Forestview Middle School, 12149 Knollwood Drive.
Approved a conditional use permit to allow furniture sales, carpet/rug sales, interior decorating studio and other interior activities for a furniture store in the Hirschfield’s Paint building at 7447 Clearwater Road. The building, constructed in 1997, was formerly home to Sears before it moved farther north.
Heard Radco’s Baxter store was hosting an open house at the same time as the council meeting, which kept council members from being able to attend. Olson said he stopped in and it was a “beautiful facility” with its addition to the city a positive for Baxter and the company.