CROSSLAKE -- Change for Crosslake is certain.
It is coming in the form of a rising swell of residents predicted in area comprehensive plans. And the city is making decisions now with one eye firmly stationed on the future.
"We agree," Mayor Darrell Swanson said of growth predictions, "because we can see the growth is coming our way. ... We really don't know how large (the city) is going to be."
Predictions call for the city to grow from 1,132 to 9,875 between 1990 and 2010, according to the 1994 Crow Wing County Comprehensive Plan.
The city is preparing in several ways, not the least of which is an expanded city sewer plan. Proposals for adding city water at the same time are still under consideration. Crosslake has another rare option with its own cable TV and communications company. The only other Minnesota city with the same city services is Barnesville.
In Crosslake's expanded service area for communications, the customers already number between 15,000 and 16,000 in the winter and between 15,000 and 20,000 in the summer. The cable company began in 1984.
In 1978, the city conducted a major investment in infrastructure. Kevin Larson, Crosslake Communications general manager, said all new copper cable was used to feed customers. More recently, in 1996, the city reviewed what they felt the community needed to do with consultants and engineering firms.
A five-year rebuilding plan with a $4 million investment was developed for Crosslake Communications. The city is in its last year of that plan.
Swanson described Crosslake as a maturing city and noted zoning ordinances were updated in 1999 to better reflect that reality.
"Crosslake is really a recreation and residential community," Swanson said, noting there is some commercial development. But, he said, most is there as support for the city's recreation, tourist trade and residential areas. Swanson said the city is the only one along the Whitefish chain with a downtown area right on the lake.
"We take our obligation and responsibility seriously," Swanson said of preserving the community not only for current residents, but for the future generations. "What we are really trying to do is manage growth so it complements our community."
Not unlike their neighbors, affordable housing is an issue for Crosslake. The city currently has about 2,000 year-round residents and 15,000 summer residents.
The city's long-range planning commission is also expecting more information -- as are other lakes communities -- from the 2000 census data.
In the meantime, Swanson said the city is working with Crow Wing County and the Whitefish Property Owners Association to inspect septic systems on Cross Lake.
"We're working very hard here," Swanson said. "The response from the public has been sensational."
Swanson said when the future residents look back, the city wants to be on the side where it can say the community was involved in planning well.
"This is our legacy," he said. "What we are doing now is very important."
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