Baxter bridge remains on sale block
BAXTER — A motion to reconsider a plan to sell the steel bridge along Cypress Drive ended in a stalemate Tuesday.
The bridge, along the Paul Bunyan State Trail was donated to the city in 2006 by the Pine Meadows Golf Course developer. A familiar landmark with the golf course, the pedestrian bridge has been sitting by the trail and used by people walking from Cypress Drive to the trail. Last December, the council voted to remove the bridge and replace it with a berm and a culvert at an expected cost of $23,000. At the time the council suggested putting the bridge up for sale in the spring.
Council member Jim Klein has been a strong and vocal advocate to sell the bridge. But Tuesday Council member Todd Holman said he favored rescinding that action and hanging on to the bridge.
Staff recommended keeping the bridge and suggested several locations where it could be used, including a wetland west of the Mississippi Overlook Park along the river or other future trail connections. However, Klein said keeping it meant spending to have a structural engineer certify it and building footings for it. And Klein said finding another place to use the bridge is based on speculation.
“Let’s get rid of it,” Klein said.
Holman said he regretted the earlier vote to approve selling the bridge, saying the vote came at a time when complete information about the bridge wasn’t put together for the council meeting.
Trevor Walter, public works director, said the bridge, which at 8-feet wide was designed to accommodate a vehicle and handle that weight may be worth more than $20,000. With the decision to sell, staff was looking for direction on what might be a minimum bid to accept.
Klein said the decision was already made and he said staff should advertise for bids with the city reserving the right to reject all bids.
Sometimes votes are cast and decisions made for what sounds like a good idea at the time, Mayor Darrel Olson said, who advocated with Holman for keeping the bridge.
“I’ve had a change of heart myself. I think the day might come when we will regret having done that,” Olson said of selling it. “I really think we should hang on to it, too.”
Klein’s motion to put the bridge up for bids failed at a 2-2 vote with Council member Rob Moser supporting it. Olson and Holman opposed. Holman’s motion to rescind the original action to sell the bridge and review options for it also failed by a 2-2 split with Moser and Klein opposed.
Council member Mark Cross was absent at the workshop session before the meeting and at the regular council session.
With both motions stymied by the tie, the council’s original action remained in place. The pedestrian bridge, a last vestige of the venerable golf course in Baxter, will be advertised for sale.