PEQUOT LAKES -- Pequot Lakes is known as the home of the bobber water tower, and now the growing community not only has a new stately city hall but also its own city library.
City staffers moved into the Pequot Lakes City Hall this summer, a 26,000-square-foot building that is often referred to as "The White House" because of its white columns in front.
The Pequot Lakes City Council purchased the former candle-manufacturing warehouse on Crow Wing County Road 11 last spring, along with the five acres behind it that abut the city water plant for $800,000. Renovation costs were estimated at under $150,000.
County: Crow Wing.
Major employers: U.S. Link-TDS Metrocom, Pequot Lakes School District, Hunt Technologies, Pequot Tool and Manufacturing Co., Lakes State Bank, Echo Publishing and Printing, Landecker and Associates, United Building Center, City of Pequot Lakes and Northern Tool and Equipment.
Notable attractions: Pequot Lakes Library, Pequot Lakes Area Historical Society, Paul Bunyan Scenic Byway, Paul Bunyan Trail, Sibley Lake Park and Boat Access, Pequot Fire Tower, Dru's Garden, Bobberland Park and Pequot Lakes Community Theater.
Notable events: Pequot Lakes Fourth of July parade and fireworks, Bean Hole Days, Crazy Days, Taste of Pequot and Artisans Festival, Pequot Lakes High School annual All-Class Reunion, Tour of Lakes Bike Ride, Antique Auto Show and Antique and Flea Market, Easter Egg Hunt at Bobberland Park.
This is the first time all city employees, including the city clerk's office, maintenance crew, fire, police and planning and zoning departments have all been under one roof. The former city hall on Government Drive remains for sale.
The new city hall also is home to the city's first library. The Pequot Lakes Area Library officially opened in July. The often-used library, which relies entirely on grants and donations, is run by a volunteer board.
There were big changes for the Pequot Lakes business community as well with the merger of the Pequot Lakes-Breezy Point Chamber of Commerce and the Brainerd Lakes Area Chambers of Commerce this year after five months of negotiations.
The move was made so the smaller chamber had more opportunities in marketing the community. The chamber building in the city remains open and the city will continue offering Pequot Lakes' trademark events, like Bean Hole Days.
As of mid-December, the city issued 161 land-use permits for both residential and commercial building, an increase from 130 permits in 2003. There were two new buildings constructed in the industrial park in 2004 and two existing businesses added new buildings, said zoning administrator Dawn Bittner.
At no cost to homeowners, the city paved several roadways in the city, projects that the city council felt needed to be accomplished before the Highway 371 expansion project begins. Roads paved in 2004 included Wilderness Road, Cullen Cove, Mayo Hills, Nelson Street, a portion of Pillsbury Street. Morehouse Drive was expanded to the south and will be paved next year. Pequot Boulevard received a bituminous overlay. Hubbard Street also was improved.
The Pequot Lakes Housing and Redevelopment Authority has teamed up with the Central Minnesota Housing Partnership in St. Cloud to construct two affordable homes in the city. The Community Revitalization Program provided funding for the city to tear down two old homes and reconstruct affordable homes for first-time homeowners.
The Pequot Lakes HRA also constructed the $1.28 million West Grove townhomes. The eight-unit housing project, built on three acres north of Sibley Terrace, provides housing for residents 55 years or older who do not qualify for affordable senior housing and want more amenities, like additional privacy but assisted living options. Each townhome provides a homelike atmosphere with its own garage, driveway, washer and dryer and patio. The HRA maintains the townhomes with lawn-mowing, snow-plowing and general maintenance.
The year also brought resolution to the community as community members found ways to mourn the loss of murder victim Dru Sjodin, a University of North Dakota college student from Pequot Lakes.
In Sjodin's memory, community members created Dru's Garden in the trailside park, which was dedicated in September.
JODIE TWEED can be reached at email@example.com or 855-5858.
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