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Baxter considers design features for improvements to Whipple Beach and Berrywood

BAXTER — Summer may seem a distant future but Baxter park enthusiasts should have more amenities to look forward to once it arrives at Berrywood Park and Whipple Beach.

The Parks and Trails Commission was looking for direction from the Baxter City Council Tuesday regarding the design of a pavilion at Whipple Beach.

The commission recommended the city plan for a 40-by-40-foot pavilion with kitchen at Whipple Beach for an estimated cost of $165,000 and a 26-by-26-foot pavilion without kitchen at Berrywood Park for a cost of $45,000.

Thoughts from the council Tuesday were for a steel roof without a cupola design aspect and rock on building corners. One of the designs in the council packet included a cupola with clock rising from the roof.

In other business, the council:

Heard staff received a preliminary and incomplete application request to vacate part of a city right-of-way on Maplewood drive that connects to White Sand Lake.

The lake connection set the vacation request apart from the usual and had staff seeking feedback from the council in advance of any hearing.

A potential vacation of the right-of-way could affect access for the community to the lake.

Council member Todd Holman noted people use the public land as an access to the lake, particularly for ice fishing. Holman said the access has been used for a long time by the neighborhood but has not been maintained by the city. Holman noted a question for the city may be if it is used as public access officially maybe it should be maintained as one. For any vacation discussion, the council noted neighbors should be informed so the city can find out if a lot of people are using the access.

Community Development Director Josh Doty said the applicant took a step back when learning of the notice to the neighborhood and Department of Natural Resources and wanted time to decide whether to move forward or not. Holman said there may be a benefit to the city as well to have the vacant house there on the tax rolls if that factor outweighs incidental use of the access, but he suspects there may be a number of people using the access. Holman said either way it should be a robust discussion that includes all aspects.

Approved the purchase of a dump truck with snow plow attachments for $187,553. Trevor Walter, Baxter public works director and highway engineer, reported $202,000 was allocated for the purchase in the city’s street budget. The truck will be purchased using the state contract method.

Established annual appointments with council member Jim Klein to the Parks and Recreation Commission and Joint Powers Recreation Board, Mayor Darrel Olson to the Planning and Zoning Commission, Council member Rob Moser to Utilities Commission, Holman to Long Range Planning Commission, Council member Mark Cross to Architectural Review Committee, both Olson and Cross as Brainerd Fire representatives.

Established the Brainerd Dispatch as the city’s official newspaper.

Approved a resolution to act as the sponsoring agency for a Cypress Drive railroad crossing.

Learned Widseth Smith Nolting is recommending installation of culverts under Wildflower and Franklin drives at an estimated cost of $4,800 so the culverts will be in place and “future stormwater management improvements will not require costly roadway restoration work.”

Heard survey crews were working in the Woida Road area for early work to define wetlands for the road improvement project. A wetland fill permit application will be addressed and include grading for the 12-foot paved trail planned on Woida Road’s north side. Widseth Smith Nolting (WSN) reported it will concentrate efforts on Wildflower and Franklin roads next with weather conditions slowing progress.

The design is 20 percent complete, WSN reported last week with sanitary sewer, water and roadway plan layouts completed. Estimated cost for a 4,300-foot paved trail is $100,649. Trail grading and topsoil were not included in the estimate as they are included with the Woida Road project.

Olson wished everyone a happy new year and said he appreciated working with the council and staff and the dedication everyone brings to the work. Olson also credited Holman with collecting, compiling and keeping a history on the inception and early years of Baxter with more expected on the details in the future.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

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.
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