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Baxter City Council: Looks at street projects, costs related to new elementary school. Improvement hearing set April 15

A map of the street projects at Jasperwood Drive and Knollwood Drive, including two mini roundabouts on Mapleton Road, show the proposed new elementary school in Baxter, which could fuel residential development in the area. Click on the image to see the entire graphic.

BAXTER—The bulk of Baxter's work for city council members at its Tuesday, April 2 meeting, came during the workshop as street projects were detailed around the plans for a new elementary school.

The new school is proposed north of Mapleton Road, east of Knollwood Drive and west of the proposed future Jasperwood Drive. Construction on the school is anticipated this year. School officials attended the workshop in Baxter City Hall.

Plans include two mini roundabouts. And the discussion included thoughts on how this newly developed area may be in for additional growth as residents move in near the schools.

Aric Welch, Widseth Smith Nolting consulting engineer, went over a detailed memo with the council, which noted traffic modeling was conducted for the study to look at growth in the area during the next 20 years.

The site in question is about 40 acres. Nearby development includes Baxter city facilities, Forestview Middle School and single family residential lots.

After the report was presented last fall, the Brainerd School District indicated a preference for access to the new elementary school to come from Jasperwood Drive. In following discussions, the responsibility for improvements was transferred from the school district to the city of Baxter, according to the memo. The project was also expanded to include:

• A water main loop for the school,

• A pedestrian trail on Knollwood Drive's west side between Mapleton Road and the south entrance to Forestview Middle School,

• A Knollwood Drive trail between Mapleton Road and south Forestview Middle School entrance,

• A full-depth reclamation of Knollwood Drive, which means the existing pavement is recycled and included into the aggregate base course with new pavement applied. This will allow for a right turn lane at Forestview and two through lanes. It would also fix the curb and gutter as 80 percent was estimated as needed to be replaced,

• Stormwater treatment facilities along the east of Jasperwood Drive for future development of the city-owned property,

• Construction of a police dog training area about 270 feet long and 150 feet wide. The area is proposed between Jasperwood and the city's maintenance facility. The area would be graded flat with an earthen berm and trees for screening from Jasperwood. The site is considered because the area used now is the site of the proposed new elementary school.

• Construction of an outdoor storage area about 250 feet by 200 feet for supplies and materials used by city departments,

• Construction of a drying pad, next to a backwash basin sludge dewatering pond north of the water treatment plant. Contractors then remove the sludge at the bottom of the basin each spring.

Welch said Jasperwood seems to more complicated the more they get into it. Now there are eight separate projects, which Welch said were separated based on the complicated mix of funding, cost splits, project types and various revenue streams.

Traffic studies

The southerly 200 feet of Knollwood Drive is proposed as a two-lane divided section with mini roundabout at Mapleton Road. The traffic study estimated the 20-year average daily traffic count on Knollwood to be 2,206 vehicles per day.

A 12-foot paved non-motorized trail is proposed on Knollwood's west side from the south bus loop at Forestview to the Mapleton Road intersection. Similarly, a 10-foot wide trail is suggested to cross Mapleton Road and continue along its south side connecting to an existing trail to the south.

Jasperwood Drive would be widened to have two dedicated right turn lanes for the proposed elementary school on the west side and two dedicated right turn lanes to the city-owned land on the east side.

The traffic study provided a look at current traffic volumes for average daily traffic counts and what that is forecast to look like for a 20-year total looking at school trips and adjoining development.

Steet, current daily traffic, 20-year total

• Knollwood Drive (south end), 1,200, 2,206.

• Mapleton Road (west of Knollwood), 900, 3,582.

• Mapleton Road (Knollwood to Jasperwood), 1,700, 4,761.

• Mapleton Road (east of Jasperwood), 1,700, 5,837

Mini roundabouts

The feasibility report lists two roundabouts on Mapleton at intersections with Knollwood and Jasperwood. Welch described them as mini-roundabouts that are smaller and a bit different from the ones in the city now because of their size and scope. The mini roundabouts would have two-way divided traffic lanes and an open center.

According to the feasibility report, the city's long-range plan it to realign the east end of Mapleton Road into a curve, replacing the four-legged intersection at Ironwood Drive and Mapleton Court.

Estimated costs

• Mapleton Road, $744,430.

• Jasperwood Drive, $1.983 million.

• Elementary School water main, $180,050.

• Knollwood Drive trail, $39,200.

• Lift Station realignment, $94,800.

• Knollwood Drive full-depth reclamation, $781,000.

• City property improvements, $558,330.

• South interceptor lift-station rerouting, $449,585.

• Estimated total project cost: $4,830,975.

Funding is expected from benefiting property owners, Baxter and Crow Wing County. For Mapleton Road, the cost share is projected to be 25 percent Crow Wing County with the rest going to Baxter, which would assess 100 percent of the cost to the Brainerd School District. For Jasperwood Drive improvements (road, trail, storm sewer, watermain, sanitary sewer), Baxter would pay $1.2 million with the school district paying $756,840. On Knollwood Drive, $5,700 would come from estimated residential assessments, $704,930 would come from the school district and $70,370 would come from Baxter.

The city of Baxter would pay for the other improvements, which were presented for consideration but are not required for the street projects, like the police dog training area, storage yard and sludge spot and Jasperwood Drive drainage basins. And the city would pay for the lift station rerouting costs.

Council member Mark Cross was absent from the meeting.

Next steps

An improvement hearing is planned April 15 and a resolution ordering the project could then come on April 16.

We are trying to move this along and get this into construction this year," Welch said.

"I'll just editorialize here—I shouldn't, but—it just really pays to do it right," Mayor Darrel Olson said. "I attended the Lowell School 58 years ago and the building's still standing. It's needed some pampering along the way but it was built right in 1938. It's solid. And I graduated from the old high school 50 years ago. It's still standing."

With the plans for the streets built to a 10-ton design and sewer, Olson said they should easily last 40 years. "So I applaud your efforts and it's going to be a great project and I'm looking forward to it. ... Now you know how old I am and I did graduate, I know that surprises you," Olson said, gaining laughs from those gathered in the council chamber.

Brainerd School District Superintendent Laine Larson replied, "We'll check the records."

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