Residents in Ward 2, Precinct 2 in north Brainerd will again be voting at Whittier School.
The council Monday, by a 5-2 vote, reversed a May 5 decision to move voting from Whittier Elementary School to the Lakes Area Senior Activities Center.
Though historically the place of voting for most north Brainerd residents, Whittier Elementary is scheduled to close this year because of budget cuts made by the Brainerd School Board. However, a group of north Brainerd residents lobbied the school board and the city council to keep Whittier as the precinct polling place.
"As Brainerd residents we all need to recognize that our schools are an integral part of our city," said Krista Soukup, who is a board member on the Brainerd Northside Neighborhood Association, a member of the Whittier parent and teacher organization and a member of the Neighborhood Schools Coalition. "It's my opinion that it's a waste of taxpayer dollars to make a polling change when it's not needed."
Council member Bob Olson said he received several calls from people, including Soukup, who wanted to keep voting at Whittier.
"There's die hard element over there that wants to keep Whittier the polling place," Olson said.
Council member Bonnie Cumberland, who along with council member Lucy Nesheim voting against reversing the council's May 5 decision, said she had several concerns with using Whittier for voting, most notably that the school district's plan to keep Whittier at 55 degrees would make it cold for voters and election workers.
She also said there hasn't been a clear message from the school district on what they intend to do with the school or the building would be available.
"Do I want to take it away from Whittier? No, I don't, but ... we just don't know what's going to happen in the future at Whittier," Cumberland said.
Council President Kelly Bevans said Whittier wouldn't be 55 degrees during elections.
In other action, the council:
Approved a conditional use permit for an addition at St. Francis of the Lakes School.
Was informed by City Planner Mark Ostgarden that the city's draft zoning ordinance was available for view at www.ci.brainerd.mn.us.
Was informed by Finance Director Theresa Goble that the city will need election judges for the 2008 primary and general elections.
Was informed by Nesheim that the Mill Avenue reconstruction project was ahead of schedule.
Was informed by Mayor James Wallin that June 6-8 has been proclaimed Marine Corps League Weekend. Accepting the proclamation from Wallin were Jack Huber, Mike Rawlings, and Jeff Workman.
Wallin also noted council member Kevin Goedker is a member of the board.
MATT ERICKSON may be reached at email@example.com or 855-5857.
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