Manhattan Beach: City council unsure about city planning event
Though it has been about 20 years since Manhattan Beach has done any community planning, the city council isn't completely convinced of its effectiveness.
Kevin Larson and Don Hickman, of the Initiative Foundation, told the council at its April 3 meeting that a lot has changed in the last 20 years in terms of population, more construction and the addition of a new school just down the road, according to unapproved draft city council meeting minutes. Larson suggested getting residents and community members involved with a planning initiative to see what they envision for the city's future.
The Initiative Foundation, Hickman explained, offers grant money and personnel to facilitate a community planning event. He said it could be as simple as inviting the community to a Saturday morning breakfast to get input on the city.
Mayor Paul Allen, however, said the city is only one and a half square miles, and it is difficult to get input. Council member Janis Allen suggested sending a questionnaire to residents to see if they would be interested in a community planning event.
Council members ultimately agreed to allow Larson to apply for the grant from the Initiative Foundation on behalf of the city and then move forward from there when the time comes.
In other business April 3, the council:
• Renewed its contract for fire services with Crosslake for another year at a cost of $10,208.52.
• Bought a new fire extinguisher for city hall for $59.95, as the current one is out of date and not up to code.
• Agreed not to digitize the city's records after City Clerk/Treasurer Amy Wannebo said city hall is running out of room to store paper records. Council members Allen, Marlene Yurek and Barb Hanson-Wannebo agreed there was a risk of permanently losing all records if they are digital.
Mayor Allen said the city looked into digitizing records about 10 years ago and found the cost to be too high. Wannebo then suggested at least adopting a records retention schedule if the city ever wants to get rid of old records. The council did not vote on that measure.
• Heard from Mayor Allen that there are issues with the east 33 feet of both Goldenstein and Satchell roads. City Attorney Andrew Kalis and the mayor agreed to contact residents with property on those parts of the roads and ask them to give the city an easement and assure them that the city would absorb any costs related to fees for such easements.
• Bought a new American flag from Red River Flags for $26.
• Heard from Scott Bowers, of Crow Wing Power, that the company applied for a conditional use permit for a communication tower in Timothy Township and said written support for the tower from the city would be greatly appreciated. Mayor Allen said the city could not write a letter of support but individuals are free to do so.
• Discussed fireworks at Manhattan Beach Lodge during the Fourth of July, an issue Yurek brought up after the holiday last year. She said fireworks being shot off from docks were a hazard. Kalis said the city could look into creating an ordinance, but enforcement would be hard. The Crow Wing County Sheriff's Department would not be able to enforce an ordinance because the city doesn't have its own police. It would have to contract with another police department.