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Baxter City Council approves revised Paul Bunyan Trail entrance

The council also made an amendment to the hunting map for 2020.

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A engineering-architectural illustration of the proposed Paul Bunyan State Trail entrance at the Paris Road cul-de-sac off Highway 371 . The Baxter City Council voted Tuesday, June 2, to remove maze fencing from the plans and instead install bollards to comply with ADA standards and promote cross-traffic safety. The move was also billed as a cost-saving measure. Image courtesy of the city of Baxter

The Baxter City Council approved Tuesday, June 2, a revised plan to configure a new entrance at the Paris Road cul-de-sac to the Paul Bunyan Trail off Highway 371 โ€” one that doesn't incorporate a maze fence and adds a central boulevard area.

During the project, the city submitted applications to the Minnesota Department of Transportation and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for review.

The move comes after concerns were raised by the DNR, Community Director Josh Doty said during a virtual Zoom meeting Tuesday, in which agency officials stated it would still be possible to maintain Americans with Disabilities Act standards and cross-traffic safety by installing bollards, rendering a maze fence unnecessary. He also noted the removal of the maze fence from city designs would significantly reduce total costs for the beautification project.

โ€œThe city took the opportunity, as it would be a potential cost savings for the project,โ€ Doty said. โ€œStaff got the sense there was hesitation about the fence part of the project.โ€

Council member Todd Holman made the motion to approve the revised plan, but also noted the city should look to implement a similar design on the trail entrance located on the opposite side of Highway 371.

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Previously, proposals for a revamped entrance was described as a centerpiece visual presentation, which would provide a safe intersection for both walking and biking pedestrians and motorists, as well as compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards. The project would look to give the cul-de-sac and trail entrance something of a facelift through landscaping, with boulders, evergreens, as well as a welcome sign. The decorative maze fencing has now been removed from these proposals.

During the initial meeting in mid-May 2019, staff pointed to two possible options for the city to take, which give an idea of the cost variance:

  • The Parks and Trails Commission option: No fence. Six-feet-tall evergreens for $3,000. Twenty-one rocks for $4,185. Striping for cul-de-sac at $200. Community entrance sign, but no natural mulch, for $100. Total cost estimate: $7,755.

  • The staff recommended option: Fence included, with 70 feet at $116 per foot, or $8,120. Bituminous pavement for $4,000. Concrete installation for $2,500. Six-feet-tall evergreens for $3,000. Twenty-one rocks for $4,185. Striping of cul-de-sac for $200. Community entrance sign for $100, plus a further $270 for natural mulch. Total cost estimate: $22,375.

Hunting map

In addition, the council voted to amend the hunting map for the 2020 hunting season to allow bow hunting on 40 acres located at 6250 Atwater Road.

Staff received a specific request from Robert and Cheryl Howard to allow hunting on their property located at 6250 Atwater Road after the couple purchased approximately 40 acres that was previously platted for residential development, but never constructed. Doty noted the property is in a rural area, with sufficient buffers with neighboring properties.

According to city documents, the 40 acres is comprised of 20 platted, vacant, residential lots and one larger lot the applicant recently constructed a home on. The applicant operates a small hobby farm on the property and has stated that hunting is needed to help reduce the bear population that is problematic with the farming operation.

In other business, the council:

Approved the appointment of Trent Jackovich, Jonas Ewald, Joseph Figliuzzi and Malia Hermerding to the seasonal position of park attendant for the 2020 summer season. Jackovich, Ewald and Figliuzzi will be paid $14 per hour, while Hermerding โ€” a new employee โ€” will be paid $13 per hour.

Approved the purchase of investigative equipment for $4,300 with funds to be drawn from the Drug Forfeiture Fund.

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Approved the appointment of Brock Andrews and Tony DeVries-Flinck to open streets and utilities maintenance positions.

Approved the hiring of one additional parks and trails maintenance seasonal position.

Approved a $1,700 purchase of equipment from the Drug Forfeiture Fund, along with donations from American Steeland Home Depot, for the construction of K9 equipment.

Approved the appointment of Brett Hague to the seasonal position of streets and utilities maintenance. Hague will be paid $14 per hour.

Adopted Ordinance 2020-004 and Summary Ordinance 2020-005, which amend the City Code Chapter 3 Liquor Control. Specifically, staff has proposed amendments removing a 7-foot setback requirement to parking and sidewalk areas only, to allow greater flexibility of fence/barrier materials and to allow greater flexibility with planting requirements.

Approved an amended liquor license for Prairie Bay Grill and Catering to include liquor sales on the outdoor patio through June 30.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at gabe.lagarde@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch .
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