Baxter City Council authorizes letter of intent for 739 acres

The significant swath of territory represents a host of opportunities, as well as tax burdens and ownership responsibilities for the expanding city.

Baxter City Council members Zach Tabatt (left) and Mayor Darrel Olson during the bimonthly meeting Tuesday, Feb. 18. Gabriel Lagarde / Brainerd Dispatch

BAXTER — The potential for significant property acquisitions and land expansions into the undeveloped stretches of rural southwest Baxter are looming large on the docket after the council voted to authorize Mayor Darrel Olson to execute a letter of intent to acquire 739 acres.

Earlier, during a Feb. 4 meeting, council members came to a consensus in support for the acquisition and for the city to work with the Conservation Fund to acquire 739 acres in the southwest, much of which represents valuable wetlands, as well an area of “preponderance of room for future growth” for the city, as Olson has described it in meetings past.

The letter of intent allows the Conservation Fund to proceed with the potential acquisition and upfront ownership for the city, as well as stating potential partnerships with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and Camp Ripley for the Department of Military Affairs in terms of mutual land management.

As noted in previous meetings, the move could place the city in a good position for future development and protection of a valuable natural resource in the area, but does spread the city thinner in terms of tax burden, as well as management of a water-rich zone and responsibilities for the possible construction of trails, road and sewer/water infrastructure for adjoining properties.

Council member Todd Holman was not present during Tuesday’s meeting.


In other business, the council:

Approved a variance to allow multiple wall signs in a public benefit district for the Early Childhood Center located at 5546 Fairview Road.

Approved a preliminary and final plat to allow a first addition to the Forestview Drive trail for property located north of Forestview Drive, east of Highway 371 and west of Fuschia Drive.

Approved a conditional use permit amendment to allow for the expansion of a gymnasium at the Baxter Elementary School located at 12191 Jasperwood Drive.

Approved the purchase of a tax forfeited parcel on Memorywood Drive from Crow Wing County for the estimated market value and associated fees of $4,849.18 for the 2019 Memorywood improvements project.

Approved a special event permit for the 2020 Kiwanis Kids Triathlon on Aug. 29 centered at Whipple Beach, in which 85-100 volunteers and 500 participants are expected to attend. Partial road closures will be enforced for the biking and running portions of the event.

Approved a special event permit for the 2020 Race for Grace on May 24. The Race For Grace, now sponsored by The Brighter Days Foundation, is a 5K walk and run event that has been occurring at Forestview Middle School since 2012. Segments of Knollwood Drive and Mountain Ash Drive will be closed to through traffic for a short period of time while the participants travel the established route.

Approved a permit for retail sales of fireworks for Fleet Farm and Menards between May 1 through April 30.


Approved an on-sale liquor and Sunday liquor license for El Loro of Baxter Inc. between March 1 through June 30, contingent upon submission of insurance documentation.

Approved a cost-share agreement with the Crow Wing County Highway Department’s 2020 pavement marking.

Approved a fee amendment for Bolton & Menk in the amount of $57,988 for engineer-architectural work associated with the 2020 South Sanitary Sewer Interceptor, North Forestview improvement and North Forestview stormwater outfall improvements project.

Approved an advanced engineering agreement for Lift Station No. 24 in the amount of $8,838.

Approved quotes for Quality Flow Systems Inc. for Lift Station No. 12 in the amount of $56,200 and Lift Station No. 24 in the amount of $67,830.

Approved moving assessment hearings for the the 2020 South Interceptor, North Forestview and Forestview stormwater outlet improvement project for 6 p.m. March 9 instead of Feb. 25, which conflicts with precinct caucuses scheduled that day.

Appointed Ketih Binsfield to the open park and trail maintenance position.

Appointed David Peterson to the open building official position.


Approved a resolution authorizing the 2020 Highway 210 street lighting improvements project, which would install lighting at Highway 210 and Meredith Drive, Highway 210 and Memorywood Drive and Highway 210 and the Paul Bunyan Trail for $199,843.24. Based on the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s cost share policy, MnDOT’s share of the project will be 50% of the lighting construction cost and 8% of the state eligible construction costs for construction engineering. The city of Baxter would be responsible for 50% of the construction costs, 100% of the design engineering costs and the remainder of the construction engineering costs.

Accepted a certificate of achievement for the Baxter Finance Department for its comprehensive financial statements from the Government Finance Officers Association. The award represents the eighth consecutive year for the finance department.

Convened a closed session with legal counsel to discuss litigation, according to City Administrator Brad Chapulis.

GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at or 218-855-5859 . Follow at .
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