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Pequot Lakes: Bids for Trailside Park area road projects rejected

Echo Journal file photo.

The Pequot Lakes City Council rejected all bids for the proposed Sibley Street and Trailside Park road and utility improvements project with Mayor Nancy Adams opposed.

Bids were opened Aug. 3 and were good for 60 days, or until Oct. 2, when the council held its regular monthly meeting. The city is researching road turnback agreements to determine whether it has the authority to remove a portion of Patriot Avenue (former two-lane Highway 371) from Main Street to Sibley Street, which relates to this project area and is why the council rejected the bids.

People for Pequot - a group of area residents and business owners with similar concerns about the city - believes the city council isn't following proper procedure in its plans to remove the portion of Patriot Avenue alongside north Trailside Park, indicating the city must first vacate the street and hasn't done so.

Also on Oct. 2, the council learned the Rasmussen Road (former County Road 112) improvement study was complete. Estimated costs total $1.84 million for the segment north of Main Street, and $1.86 million for the segment south of Main Street.

City engineer Tim Houle, of Widseth Smith Nolting engineering firm, said the project and estimated costs include many variables.

The council agreed public input is necessary to gather citizens' thoughts, especially from people who live on Rasmussen Road. An open house will be scheduled and will include information on funding sources for improvements.

Council member Scott Pederson said this is the "all" version, and there's something between "nothing" and "all." The project could be done in phases, he said.

Adams said the purpose of the open house would be to show residents proposals and get their feedback, including what might be missing.

Public works department

The council acknowledged the resignation of Pete Clement, maintenance worker for the past six years, approved a revised job description for the position and will begin the hiring process.

This follows the recent retirement of longtime public works supervisor Mike Loven, so the council agreed to hire John Monnier and Dalton Engholm as temporary, as-needed employees in the public works department for the fall and winter seasons.

The council conducted interviews Monday, Oct. 8, with public works director candidates. City Administrator Nancy Malecha said she hopes a public works director will be hired by Dec. 1.

Public safety

The city hired Brad McGuire as a firefighter. He is an eight-year Nisswa firefighter as well and will work for both departments.

Pequot Lakes firefighters had nine calls in August, including two mutual aid structure fires (including a callback to one) in Ideal Township; smoke detector going off in Jenkins Township; woman trapped in an elevator in Pequot Lakes; natural gas line cut in Jenkins Township; fire alarm hallway smoke detector in Jenkins; fire alarm third-floor elevator in Pequot Lakes; and house struck by lightning in Jenkins Township.

The Pequot Lakes Police Department had 427 calls for service in August. A notable call occurred Aug. 18, when part-time officer Steve Emerson was on routine patrol and noticed a suspicious vehicle sitting in a dark area of the lot at SuperAmerica A-Pine. With assistance from two other officers, a search of the vehicle yielded approximately 107 grams of methamphetamine and more than $2,000 cash. The two occupants were arrested for felony drugs and first-degree sale. The vehicle and cash are pending forfeiture.

Rescheduled meeting

The council's next regular council meeting is scheduled Tuesday, Nov. 6, which is Election Day, when no public meetings can be held between 6-8 p.m. Instead, the council will meet at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14, to talk about the 2019 levy and budget. The regular meeting will follow at 6:30 p.m.

In other business Oct. 2, the council:

• Approved an on-sale and Sunday liquor license for Elaine Pestello for Pequot Bar & Grill on Front Street, contingent upon necessary paperwork received.

• Appointed Laura Larson to the planning commission through 2019.

• Acknowledged Barb Carlson's retirement as executive director of the Housing and Redevelopment Authority, and Tamra Lanning's resignation from the HRA Commission because she was hired as HRA executive director effective Dec. 7. Patricia Dullum was appointed to fill the open HRA Commission term through Dec. 31.

• Agreed to Daniel and Lauri Helbling's request to rezone a 27.02-acre property from recreation to rural residential. The property is vacant and accessed via Little Walnut Lane and Preserve Boulevard.

• Reclassified three properties to non-conservation and offered them for sale by Crow Wing County. The properties are: first, Pequot Shady Shores; second, north of Mayo Lake; and third, adjacent to North Sluetter Road on the west side of Sibley Lake.

• Adopted a resolution to acquire an outlot of Branches Plat for $2,679 to be used as the access lot to the Paul Bunyan Trail.

• Approved strategic planning facilitation services with Abdo Eick & Meyers Financial Solutions for $11,500, of which Sourcewell (formerly National Joint Powers Alliance) will pay half, for the library.

• Held a closed session for an annual review for City Administrator Nancy Malecha, who received positive comments.

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