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Brainerd City Council: Other Fourth of July parade routes being considered

Brainerd City Council President Mary Koep said she remembers “years ago when there was no (Brainerd) Community Action” and the 4th of July parade ran down Thirteenth Street to the fairgrounds. Mayor James Wallin said he remembers the parade originating at the Franklin School parking lot where he “could step out his front door and watch.”

“We have had plenty of different routes for this parade,” said Wallin during Monday night’s Brainerd City Council meeting.

Following the announcement on April 13 by Brainerd Community Action to cancel the annual Fourth of July parade, Wallin told council he spoke with Community Action Director Nancy Cross and other route options for the parade are being considered.

“I don’t have anything definite yet, but I did talk to Nancy Cross and she has been in contact with the Jaycees group of people to see what alternatives can be done,” Wallin said. “Their main concern is about safety, but they will look more in depth and hopefully in the next week or two, more information will be coming forward and if there’s anything (we the city) can do, I told her to let us know.

“The parade brings thousands in to the area and we live in Gods country and the people and this parade are part of that.”

For the past 35 years, Brainerd Community Action reports it has coordinated or been involved with the fundraising for the week-long Brainerd/Baxter Fourth of July celebration.

It has never been difficult to fund raise for this celebration until now, Cross said last week.

“Brainerd Community Action is not part of the city of Brainerd, nor are we a department of the chamber,” Cross wrote in an email. “We are a nonprofit corporation that took on the 4th of July celebration at the request of Mayor George Bedard in 1987. Every year we have to spend the money before we raise the money. Every year it is an educated guess if we are going to come out in the red or black.

Cross pointed to the challenges in providing a safe environment for the parade, a bad economy and the College Drive reconstruction project as reasons for the cancellation.

“...and after reconsidering other parade route options, the board has determined that there is no safe way to have a 4th of July Parade in 2012,” she said.

Cross said people who want to see another “amazing Brainerd/Baxter 4th of July American Celebration” may send a tax deductible contribution to: Brainerd Community Action, 213 S. Fifth St., Brainerd, MN 56401.

JESSI PIERCE may be reached at 855-5859 or Follow her on Twitter at (@jessi_pierce).