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BAXTER CITY COUNCIL: Costco is coming, others aren’t

BAXTER — Olive Garden, IHOP, Petco and Michaels are out. 

Costco is in. 

Baxter City Administrator Gordon Heitke, at the close of Tuesday’s city council meeting informed council members that Oppidan, which was developing the Gander Mountain site to include Olive Garden, IHOP, Petco and Michaels, was not going any further with the redevelopment plans. 

“Basically, it was a financial related decision,” Heitke said. 

The city has, however, received an application from Costco for a 149,000-square-foot building at the former Motor City site at the southwest corner of Highways 371 and 210, Heitke said. 

The Costco development is proposed to include a tire center, liquor store, free-standing fuel station and four lots for future development. Heitke said the company has not disclosed a construction timeline. 

Another application the city received is from Dondelinger’s, which intends to build a 7,200-square-foot auto showroom and detailing center to the east of its current location, across from the future location of Cypress Drive and on the former propane plant site. 

Mayor Darrel Olson said the news of Oppidan’s cancellation of the Gander Mountain redevelopment was disappointing. However, he added he was excited about Costco’s application. 

“I think in this economy we’re fortunate to have people still looking at this city,” Olson said. 

In reference to the Costco application, council member Jim Klein joked that it was nice to have confirmation of one of the worst kept secrets in the city. 

In other action, the council:

Held a public hearing on improvements for Hastings Road. The city is building a water tower on the site and it proposing to add water, sewer, storm sewer and a new roadway in conjunction with the water tower project.  Al Christensen, one of the four property owners who would be assessed for the project, balked at his estimated $285,850 assessment for the project. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” Christensen said. The council took no action on the proposed project and set a 6 p.m. Aug. 2 workshop to look at alternatives. 

Approved by a 3-2 vote spending $1,800 for a feasibility study for paving Franklin Drive and Wildflower Drive. Council member Todd Holman voted against because he felt the project could be part of a larger Woida Road project. Klein voted against because he felt staff a feasibility study wasn’t needed and staff could prepare the information. The roads are two of the few in Baxter that aren’t paved, and Olson noted he’s received calls from residents complaining about the dust problem. The road would not be a long-term solution, he said. Council member Mark Cross said the neighbors came to the city to see about a paving project, which is what the council wanted. 

Directed staff to contact the DNR about requirements for a Memorywood Drive storm sewer review. 

Approved a resolution of support for an application to the National Park Service, River, Trails and Conservation assistance program for the Mississippi River Corridor Planning. Holman noted the application was being made with Brainerd, whose city council on Monday passed its resolution of support. He said he and Klein would be working on the application. 

Directed city staff to perform all city mowing at one time and determine later mowing based on need. The council was informed that because of its reduction in hours for mowing in the 2011 budget there were only 40 to 45 hours left. Klein also asked that Riverside Park be made a priority, but the council decided against adding it to the list until the site is delineated. 

MATT ERICKSON may be reached at or 855-5857.