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Spur Line Trail receives grant

Brainerd received a $425,000 DNR grant paving the way for the Spur Line Trail extension though the southern part of the city.

The trail was a source of contention this past fall when the council split in a vote to submit a grant application. The council received public comments both for and against the trail plan with residents concerned about being responsible to clear snow.

The proposed trail would go west down Buffalo Hills Lane, north to the Mississippi River and into Kiwanis Park, where it would connect with the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail and the College Drive/Paul Bunyan Trail.

Tuesday Mark Ostgarden said the $425,000 received together with the $150,000 the city already received for the trail, is enough to construct it.

From $33 million in grant requests, Ostgarden said just $7 million in funding was available, with Brainerd’s request a substantial one.

Ostgarden said he’d work with the parks and highway department and talk to school district about the trail plan. The city also needs to work with a property owner for an easement for the trail construction. Those efforts are expected in the coming months. Ostgarden said he is looking at construction in 2012. In other business, the city:

Proposed a joint meeting with Crow Wing County commissioners regarding the airport governing structure at 5 p.m. on Feb. 7 in the county’s conference room, pending approval with the board.

Planned to meet with the Housing and Redevelopment Authority Board of Directors at 6 p.m. Feb. 13 at the HRA.

Set a council planning workshop on 6 p.m. on Jan. 23 with city attorney Tom Fitzpatrick to talk about the open meeting law and conflict of interest.

Learned the Brainerd School District’s Whittier School Reuse Committee will have its first meeting Jan. 17.

Learned Battalion Fire Chief Geoff Williams retired Dec. 31 after 18 years as a battalion chief. “He will be greatly missed,” said Fire Chief Kevin Stunek.

Heard from Tony Sailer, park director, the department has been butting heads with Mother Nature with the warm weather in efforts to establish the skating rinks at Gregory Park and Mill Avenue Park. Rinks in those parks are up and running although temperatures this week were expected to reach 40 degrees. The city is also working on getting the skating rink ready in Bane Park, which fell behind because of the building project. The final inspection for the building took place Friday.

“We thank the public for having patience with us,” Sailer said.

Talked about adding fees for services that have in some cases have been provided without charge in the past. Services listed included fire extinguisher training. A public hearing is planned to discuss adding those fees is planned for the first meeting in February.

Received 61 applicants for the building inspector position and six were interviewed on top candidates with a hiring recommendation expected for the Jan. 17 meeting.

Heard there was no motion from the Personnel and Finance Committee after it heard an appeal to reconsider the denial of police officer Ray McCollum Jr.’s application for voluntary early retirement incentive program. The committee reported it stood with the denial previously voted upon by the entire council.

RENEE RICHARDSON may be reached at 855-5852 or

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
(218) 855-5852