A plan to resurface a county road now functioning more as a city street is getting a second look.
Tuesday, the Crow Wing County Board delayed work on Inglewood Drive after recent talks with representatives from the city of Baxter.
In October, the Crow Wing County Board rejected a Baxter proposal for an orderly annexation for road improvements.
At issue was an opportunity to upgrade Inglewood Drive to a 10-ton design with 4-foot shoulders. Inglewood is a collector road for city traffic as an alternative to Highway 371. Drivers use Inglewood to reach Highway 210.
The Inglewood Drive segment in question runs between Woida Road to County Highway 77, also known as the Pine Beach Road.
At the October meeting, the discussion ranged from commissioners who were not in favor of annexation and became entangled in the 10-ton design proposal. At the time, Highway Engineer Tim Bray said the issue wasn’t about the road design, whether 10 tons or 7 tons but was about jurisdiction.
The county planned to upgrade the road, which is in the First Assessment District, in 2014. The county board serves as the town board for the district in Unorganized Territory, which borders Baxter.
Instead of doing an overlay, the option to rebuild the road was suggested. Baxter agreed to pay half of the costs for a 10-ton road, instead of 27 percent for an overlay, but reported it couldn’t justify spending its taxpayers’ dollars for a road not in the city limits.
Tuesday, Bray said information wasn’t fully available for the October meeting such as the design of the rest of Inglewood to the south or other roadways. The city of Baxter is in the midst of updating its comprehensive plan, including Inglewood Drive. The comprehensive plan is expected this spring. In addition, Bray reported a land use/transportation plan for the First Assessment District is slated for 2014.
In his report to the board, Bray stated “delaying improvements to Inglewood Drive until after the rest of this information is compiled will aid in designing the most appropriate improvement.”
Bray said representatives of the city and county felt it was in the best interest of both to discuss the matter more fully. Last week, Commissioners Paul Thiede and Rosemary Franzen met with Baxter Mayor Darrel Olson and city officials. Bray said they talked about information not readily available for the county board meeting and how things might have turned out differently with that data.
Both sides agree it was prudent to delay the project until the city and county complete or substantially complete their comprehensive plans for the area.
The project is expected to be back in the mix for 2015.
Bray said he thinks it will be better to understand the proper fix for Inglewood to see if a mill and overlay works or if an update is needed in order for Inglewood to match the rest of the transportation system around it.
Thiede said he thought it was a reasonable approach and smart to let the process work.