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Brainerd City Council: Strategic plan adopted by city

Brainerd now has an official strategic plan.

The council voted Monday at its regular meeting to adopt the four-part strategic plan, which city leaders and staff have been working with for the past several months.

City officials met earlier this year to brainstorm and identify top priorities to aim for in regard to Brainerd’s future.

Chosen were: neighborhood investments, stable financial planning, build a river walk, upgrade the city website and create a newsletter.

City officials held a town hall meeting June 10. With the feedback gathered, officials revised the plan slightly, adding some wording.

Added to neighborhood investments was to focus on enforcing current city codes. That was very important to residents at the town hall meeting, said council president Bonnie Cumberland.

Also added to the first focus was to pursue appropriate grants to fund redevelopment and rehabilitation opportunities.

Added under the neighborhood investments was to explore a skateboard park development.

Under the strategic focus of upgrade the city website and create a newsletter, added was reviewing the merit system for committee and commission appointments.

With the formal adoption, the plan can start being put into action immediately.

It’s a continuous process, city administrator Theresa Goble said. The plan will be evaluated and updated annually, with quarterly reports on the status of the projects.

“We’ve had a lot of meetings and talked about this a lot of times,” she said. “I think its time to move forward with adoption.”

The strategic plan passed with unanimous approval.

In other council news:

Accepted a bid for the city hall restoration project in the amount of $105,500 from Hy-Tec Construction of Brainerd. This was the second call for bids for the project. The first round of bids was turned down in April by the council after the one bid came in higher that expected.

Residents in the north side neighborhood will be notified in regard to the progress on the Whittier School repurposing process. City staff will be allowed up to $300 to make a one-time mailing to the entire north side neighborhood regarding the process and tell them that future notifications, outside of legal notifications, will be carried on by the neighborhood association. The move is in effort to keep residents informed as the zoning process, which will take several months, moves forward.

Supported a trail corridor across county land for the Cuyuna Lakes State Trail. The trail will run from Aitkin to Brainerd and connect with the Paul Bunyan Trail in Brainerd. Part of the trail will be located on county-owned land, northeast of Brainerd. County officials want to make sure the city supports the trail corridor.

The final reading was held for rezoning a portion of 13th Street from residential to general industrial. Most of the land considered for the rezoning is owned by Shipman Auto Parts. The property is about 3.2 acres. All council members voted in favor of adopting the motion.

The city was awarded $715,000 from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development to do rehabilitation of five commercial buildings and 25 owner-occupied homes in southeast Brainerd. The Brainerd HRA will administer the program. The city’s original proposal submitted by the HRA in November was one of 32 cities awarded funds. There were 83 requests. The funds will be used to make deferred loans to property owners with accompanying 10-year mortgages. The commercial loans will be 70 percent deferred and 30 percent owner’s match up to $30,000 maximum deferred loan. The owner rehab loans will be $20,000 maximum with an affordability calculation to determine the owner’s match.

The Brainerd Fire Department will form a committee to research becoming a fire district.

The results of the city clean-up day June 15 were given. There were 40 participants with an estimated city cost of $775. Collected were nine tires, eight major appliances, 10 pickup loads of mixed junk, four furniture items, 43 recycled electronics and nine mattresses/box springs.

Approved two street closures. The first is for a car show and brat feed from 9 a.m.–6:30 p.m. on July 20. The streets involved are Laurel Street from mid-block between South 6th and South 7th streets to South 8th and South 7th from Maple to Front streets. The second closure will be for Street Fest on 7th on Aug. 2-3. The roads are Laurel Street from mid-block between 6th and 7th streets to midblock between 7th and 8th streets and Front Street between 6th and 8th and from 8th to 10th

Council approved a 10-year special assessment in the amount of $2,500-3,000 for sewer service for a house on the 1000 block of 12th Avenue NE. The homeowner must fill out a form to determine financial need.

Officials will walk the Safe Routes to School route at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 8 starting at Garfield School. Officials will answer questions about the project that residents have.

JESSICA LARSEN may be reached at or 855-5859. Follow me on Twitter at