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City seeks applications in riverfront development committee

Calling all Mississippi River enthusiasts. The city of Brainerd wants residents to be part of a steering committee.

The purpose: help lead an effort to draft a plan for a riverfront development, which could include a river walk.

The Brainerd City Council unanimously approved seeking applicants for the steering committee at its meeting Monday. City council members Gary Scheeler, Bonnie Cumberland and Kelly Bevans were absent.

At its December meeting, the city council gave the OK to contract with the University of Minnesota Center for Rural Design (CRD) once enough money was raised. It’s the first step in the creation of a river walk or riverfront development, an effort that City Planner Mark Ostgarden has headed.

The Mississippi River Partnership Plan steering committee will give input to the development of the project, identify priorities or risks, monitor the timeline and quality of the project as it develops and provide advice throughout. The steering committee will make recommendations to the council for final approval on actions in the potential river walk or development project.

Ideally the steering committee members will include members from the following organizations: hospital, college, chamber of commerce, The Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corp., The Brainerd School District, The Initiative Foundation, Kiwanis Club, Rotary, Nature Conservancy, downtown Brainerd, Department of Natural Resources, Mississippi Parkway Commission, a Brainerd City Council, Planning Commission, Park Board, Brainerd History Group, an architect and three to six residents.

“As important as these organizations are to have in the steering committee, it’s critical to have good representation from Brainerd citizens,” Ostgarden said.

The committee could include as many as 22 members.

The city will accept applications until Feb. 21. The council will consider the names and appoint applicants to the steering committee at its March 3 meeting. The steering committee will start meeting in early spring.

In other council news:

Approved submitting a grant application to the Transportation Alternative Program for Business Highway 371 sidewalk. The Minnesota Department of Transportation is planning improvements in 2017 from Highway 210 to Joseph Street. The grant application request will include a sidewalk from south of Joseph Street to connect with Buffalo Hills Trail at Industrial Park Road. The preliminary cost estimate is $547,000. A 20 percent local match is required, which comes to $110,000, based on preliminary cost estimated. That money will be needed in 2017-18. The council also voted to start a process to get residents involved in the potential project should it proceed.

Approved buying intelligent transportation system (ITS) software from Routematch Corporation for $97,762, with the local share of 20 percent to be split between the city and Crow Wing County. The council originally passed a resolution last summer authorizing the Transit Department to buy the equipment and services for all vehicles.

Renewed the agreement with Mallie Law Office to provide misdemeanor prosecuting services for the city. The current agreement ends December 2014. The new agreement will end December 2017. The new compensation base fee is $14,392 per month. That’s up from $13,840 in the current contract.

Approved appointing Julie McCullough to police administrative supervisor effective Feb. 4 at a starting base wage of $4,752.31 per month.

Accepted with regret the resignation of City Administrator Theresa Goble, and authorized severance pay. Monday was Goble’s last city council meeting. The new administrator starts Feb. 10, after Goble retires.

Made the following committee appointments: Kevin Stumpf to the Charter Commission; Nicole Wolff and Chris Grossman to the Library Board; Jackie Burkey to the Park Board; Don Samuelson to the Public Utilities Commission; Jeff Czeczok, Sue Hilgart and Cori Wrobel to the Transportation Advisory Committee; Andy Larson to the Airport Commission; Angie Plantenberg, Dolly Matten and Matthew Straw to the Planning Commission; Bill Matthies to the Police and Fire Civil Service Commission.

Heard that the United States Tennis Association has completed the technical review of the Park and Recreation Department’s application for the replacement of two Gregory Park tennis courts. The association now needs a 2014 facility grant application to be submitted. If approved, the grant would cover up to 20 percent of the total $70,000 cost. Another grant application has been submitted to the Adopt-a-Court, but the department is seeking private donations.

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