Baxter City Council: Baxter City Council to meet with public April 18 on street projects

BAXTER--The Baxter City Council will meet at 6 p.m. April 18 at The Journey North Community Church, 6785 Woida Road for a 2016 mill and overlay session with residents and property owners.

BAXTER-The Baxter City Council will meet at 6 p.m. April 18 at The Journey North Community Church, 6785 Woida Road for a 2016 mill and overlay session with residents and property owners.

The council debated whether to have three separate meetings or if, because there were similarities, to put the projects together for a single night. Because the number of people attending was anticipated to be too many for the 185-person capacity in the council chambers, the event was moved to the church.

Commercial roads being reviewed for the report included segments of Clearwater Road and Woida Road and residential streets including Cedardale Lane, Brentwood Road, Briarwood Lane, Birchdale Lane, Ashdale Lane, Second Street, First Street, Maplewood Drive, Kenwood Drive, Kenwood Court, Glenwood Drive, Madeline Drive, John Street and Mary Street. Construction of a right turn lane for eastbound College Road traffic for those who want to turn south onto Cypress Drive is among areas for review.

Estimated costs with the residential projects are $857,530. With the commercial area, the city cost is estimated at $70,000 with $254,050 in assessable costs. The Cypress Drive turn lane may cost $166,900. In total, the projects have an estimated city cost of $236,890, or 17.6 percent, and assessable project costs of $1.1 million, or 82.4 percent. Construction would last about two months.

In other business, the council:


Heard from Fairview Road resident Dave Schonrock during open forum.

Schonrock has been a regular visitor during the open forum and a critic of the council, particularly on street work and council plans for construction work on Fairview Road. Other topics have included train noise, vehicle speed limits and police enforcement.

Schonrock said he spent 10 hours looking at both vehicle traffic and pedestrian traffic on Fairview Road over two weeks and said the numbers he documented don't add up to what the city's reported. The city reports 3,000 cars a day on Fairview, Schonrock said, while the most he counted was 850 during the day over 14 hours during two weeks. Schonrock said he counted six to 12 pedestrians during a weekend day. He said any water problems are the city's problems because of bad ditching and now the city wants the people to pay for those mistakes.

"I don't know how you can justify doing what you are planning on doing," Schonrock said. He told the council it was going to put people out of their homes because of assessments with this planned road improvement project. Schonrock said it's no worse than breaking into people's homes at night and stealing things.

"To me, it's theft and legalized extortion," Schonrock said.

He said the pedestrian path planned is not taking tourists to points of interest; instead it's a residential area. There is a gas station with soft serve ice cream, he said.

Schonrock said he can drive anywhere in Baxter and see roads are busted up and nothing is maintained.

"To me it's neglect. It's outright neglect and I don't think the people should have to pay for it. I think it's up to the city to make up for its own mistakes," Schonrock said.


Schonrock then left the meeting. Council members responded to his comments at the end of the meeting.

Council member Steve Barrows said this area is one where people want to come to a beautiful surrounding. Barrows said he believes Baxter city trails are second to none and the city is a destination people want to come and enjoy the type of livability here.

Council member Mark Cross said as liaison to the utilities commission, the city is using tax dollars set aside for road maintenance to the fullest. The intent of those projects is to cut down maintenance costs, Cross said, adding he just wanted to make sure people understood what was correct.

Considered construction plans for Golf Course Drive.

The council heard a report from engineer Mike Rardin, Bolton and Menk, regarding the Golf Course Drive improvement project and looking at options for a sewer that runs beneath the Mills Fleet Farm building site along the road. An inspection showed the sewer was in good condition and capable of handling 10-year storm event.

"There does not appear to be any reason, from a condition or capacity perspective, to reroute the sewers currently located beneath the Mills Fleet Farm Building," Rardin stated in a written summary. Recommendations were to conduct an inspection at least once every six years and if deterioration is found, increase inspection frequency and make plans for repairs or replacement.

The council consensus was to move forward with the road project. Rardin was asked how long the pipe could last. He said it could last 100 to 200 years and is now about 35 years old. There was concern if the easement followed the property or the ownership given the recent ownership change at Mills, but the council was told the easement stays with the land.

Plans are to review the feasibility report supplement at the April 19 meeting and have a public information meeting the week of April 25. An improvement hearing is expected May 5. Work on the project is anticipated to begin in August and be completed in October.


Established a cemetery board after not having an active board for some time. The council appeared divided on whether a board was needed to discuss needs for the city cemetery, which accepts residents and former residents who spent at least 10 years living in the city and their children. Council member Todd Holman questioned if there was a need for another controlling commission and if another, such as the existing parks and trails commission could handle it for more efficiency. The cemetery board was meeting quarterly when it was in session.

Mayor Darrel Olson, who brought the subject up, was in favor of the reconstituting the cemetery board. Cross said he could see both sides, those favoring efficiency and those in favor of giving residents another avenue to be involved with the city. Council member Quinn Nystrom said she saw the value of having more public engagement. Barrows was in favor of the cemetery board.

Adjourned, noting three council members plan to attend the Wednesday National Joint Powers Alliance 25th annual student recognition dinner Wednesday at Madden's on Gull Lake.

RENEE RICHARDSON, associate editor, may be reached at 218-855-5852 or . Follow on Twitter at .

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