Boating will be restricted in the channel between Kimball and Ossawinnamakee lakes near Ideal Corners in an effort to prevent the spread of zebra mussels.
Crow Wing County commissioners voted Tuesday to stop boat traffic through a small channel between the lakes indefinitely in an attempt to keep the mussels from spreading. Zebra mussels already are established in Ossawinnamakee.
Boats can still move between the lakes using a boat landing. Boaters are charged with inspecting their boats to prevent the spread of the invasive species. But the move to close the channel was expected to curb accidental contamination as boats move through the water. The DNR has examined Kimball Lake with divers and did not find a trace of zebra mussels.
In other business, the county board:
Voted to relocate the Crow Wing County Highway Department to the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport.
The county's building plan uprooted the department from its Laurel Street site in downtown Brainerd. Tuesday commissioners heard Highway Engineer Duane Blanck's recommendation to relocate to the airport.
Blanck is negotiating now for temporary office space before facilities are constructed at the airport site. Blanck said the city of Brainerd is conducting a feasibility study for extension of water and sewer to the airport, something the airport commission also is interested in pursuing.
In related information, the county dug out 200 yards of contaminated soil during the Justice Center construction north of Front Street in downtown Brainerd. Digging unearthed six different fuel tanks some for heating oil and some larger bulk storage tanks, which may have been there for decades. The contaminated soil now is covered on the site until test results determine the best way to dispose of the soils.
Heard an update on the county's central heating plant project from Dunham Associates. The new system, built into an existing building, is expected to create greater efficiency and energy savings for the county.
Postponed a detoxification presentation when Commissioner Ed Larsen stated he had to leave the board meeting at 2 p.m. because he made another appointment because he thought the meeting would be concluded by that time.
Heard a Brainerd Lakes Area Conservation Collaborative presentation and received an extensive document with reference maps as an inventory and assessment of natural resources in the county.
Approved spending $18,080 with Jean Coleman of CR Planning to complete the county's zoning and subdivision ordinances update. A draft ordinance update should be completed in October with final changes incorporated in February. A CR Planning bid of $20,754 was accepted to develop a parks, trails and open space plan for the parks department with money coming from the parks fund. A draft should be available for public presentation in January.
Heard an appeal for a $10,000 increase in funding for the Crow Wing County Historical Society. The museum, next to the courthouse, had 2,565 visitors in 2003, 400 researchers seeking genealogy or historic information and programming for children and adults. Thirty-five volunteers provided 2,820 hours. The museum is down to one full-time employee, creating issues with sick time, vacation time or exhibit and program updates.
Authorized a $100,000 Law Enforcement Terrorism Prevention Program Grant for the county's Bomb Disposal Unit.
Accepted a 47-passenger charter coach bus donation for use as a mobile command vehicle for the sheriff's department. Refurbishing costs to outfit the bus with supplies will be covered through an existing bomb disposal grant.
Adjourned to a 1 p.m. Sept. 7 county board meeting.
RENEE RICHARDSON can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 855-5852.
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