Calling all walking and biking enthusiasts — the city of Brainerd wants you.
City officials voted unanimously at the Brainerd City Council meeting Tuesday to form an ad hoc Walkable and Bikable City Committee.
The move is part of one of the recently identified strategic focuses: invest in the city neighborhoods.
The ad hoc committee will be tasked with developing comprehensive city-wide sidewalk, trail and bike lane plans for inclusion in the city’s comprehensive plan, which it will later recommend to city council. The ad hoc committee will also explore a skateboard park development.
The goal is to present the plan to council in or by 2016.
City councilwoman Mary Koep stressed the importance of being “all inclusive” in the formation of the committee so all voices can be heard.
“If this is just hand-picked to accomplish something that someone wants, it’s a fruitless endeavor. ... I would like some assurance that this will be honest committee that will give people with different opinions an equal voice,” she said.
City Council President Bonnie Cumberland said the process of approving who is on the committee allows for that already.
City Planner Mark Ostgarden said putting people on the committee who are against a more walkable and bikable community would be against the strategic focuses that the council already agreed on.
“I hope that all people on the committee are for one reason: to implement what council already approved,” he said.
The committee will be about 12-15 people, and will possibly be broken in two sub-committees, with one focusing on biking and the other on walking.
Those interested in joining the volunteer committee can pick up an application at City Hall, the Brainerd Public Library or online at www.ci.brainerd.mn.us. Applications are due Oct. 1. Applicants must either be residents of Brainerd or own property in the city.
In other city council news:
Added another month to the code enforcement intern position, which was scheduled to end at the end of September. City Engineer Jeff Hulsether said because more violations are found during follow-up inspections, projections indicate the number of open cases at the end of September will be “substantial.”
The intern has almost 1,000 cases so far, with about 280 to finish.
The intern position will now go through the end of October.
Koep was the only one to vote against the motion.
She said she was concerned over the process, saying it was turning into a “witch hunt” and “turning neighbor against neighbor.”
Koep added, “Its become an exaggerated event and not one handled with care.”
Councilman Gary Scheeler disagreed. Scheeler said he rode along with the intern for about an hour a couple of weeks ago.
“I’m assured she isn’t targeting anyone and I back her up that she’s doing it with a lot of integrity,” he said.
Set a date to approve the 2014 preliminary levy and budget for at 5 p.m. Sept 11 at city hall.
Approved a merger between the transit systems of Brainerd and Crow Wing County with the Pine River bus beginning Oct. 1. The merger will expand the service area, officials say. Delivery of service and oversight of the Pine River bus will be the responsibility of the Crow Wing County Transportation Committee. The service and financial agreement between the city and Pine River was reviewed. Brainerd will provide 15 percent of the total operating cost and 20 percent of the total capital costs.
Authorized about $2,000 of drug forfeiture funds to be use for the purchase of smartphone forensic examination software and a supporting laptop. Police Chief Corky McQuiston said the department consistently has a need to extract data from smartphones and this software allows for complete examination and downloading of files, like pictures, text messages, call logs and GPS data.
Renewed a joint powers agreement with the state of Minnesota in relation to the Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Approved a quote for salt sand from Anderson Brothers at $4.10 per yard.