BAXTER CITY COUNCIL: City acquires land for road projects

BAXTER - The Baxter City Council approved the acquisition of three pieces of land Tuesday night as part of upcoming road projects. Following closed session to discuss negotiations, acquiring additional right-of-way as part of the Excelsior Road i...

BAXTER - The Baxter City Council approved the acquisition of three pieces of land Tuesday night as part of upcoming road projects.

Following closed session to discuss negotiations, acquiring additional right-of-way as part of the Excelsior Road improvement project slated for this year was approved along with the purchase of two parcels associated with the Isle Drive extension project.

One of the parcels purchased is located at the southwest corner of the future intersection of County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 48 and Isle Drive (currently where CSAH 48 intersects with Ironwood Drive South). The other parcel, purchased from Potlatch Corporation, is located at the northeast corner of the same intersection, where a roundabout is proposed as part of the project.

The cost to the city for the acquired land was not immediately available.

The council adjourned the meeting to be continued at a special meeting, set for 6 p.m., Feb. 24. At that meeting, the council is set to discuss mayoral letters of interest.


Kelly Steele, assistant city administrator, reported one letter of interest has been submitted so far, by former Mayor Darrel Olson. Olson resigned last month after he was told he was in danger of losing his retirement benefits due to a little-known law. The Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA) of Minnesota told Olson he was required to have 30 days of separation between his PERA employment and his elected position. Since his resignation, council member Todd Holman has been acting mayor. The deadline for letters of interest is Friday.

In other business, the city council:

Approved a resolution ordering the preparation of proposed assessments for the Excelsior Road and Conservation Drive improvement projects. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $3,185,916, of which the city will pay $2,851,987. The portion of costs to be assessed to benefited property owners is $333,929, or 11.7 percent of the city's costs.

The council also set a public hearing on the assessments for 6:30 p.m., March 12.

Received a memo from Trevor Walter, public works director/engineer, on bids for the Excelsior Road improvement project. Bids opened 9 a.m. Tuesday and three companies submitted bids: Anderson Brothers Construction, Landwehr Construction and Tom's Backhoe Service.

Approved an off-sale liquor license and tobacco license for June for a planned Super One liquor store north of Super One Foods.

Adopted a resolution approving an agreement between the state of Minnesota and the city of Baxter regarding the Paul Bunyan State Trail. As part of the Excelsior Road improvement project, the city plans to make improvements to the road's stormwater management. The improvements include relocating the existing ditch between Cypress Drive and Broadmoor Drive further north, which moves it into the trail corridor.

The agreement allows the city to construct and maintain the proposed ditch.


Approved the demolition of a storage building in Oscar Kristofferson Park. The building, erected in the 1970s, needs costly repairs, is not up to state health code requirements and has public safety and liability issues, according to a request for council action.

Parks and trails staff will supply all demolition labor and equipment. Additional costs for the project total $1,104.

Awarded a contract for professional engineering services to Bolton & Menk for a re-route improvement project of lift station No. 3, located at Inglewood Drive and Fairview Road. The engineering costs are not to exceed $63,420 of the estimated $528,000 project.

Approved an agreement with Widseth Smith Nolting for professional engineering and surveying services for Forest Drive area stormwater improvements, not to exceed $13,250.

The Forest Drive area experienced localized flooding in 2014 and does not have a natural stormwater outlet.

Approved the clearing of right-of-way and easements for the 2015 Isle Drive extension project, to be completed by the end of March. The clearing is set for completion this spring to avoid disruption of habitat of the northern long-eared bat, which is under consideration for the federal endangered species list.

Authorized the Baxter Police Department to fill an entry level patrol officer position, an upcoming vacancy due to the resignation of Officer Ann Hunnicutt.

Amended the industrial park map for property owned by Simonson Lumber from Tier 1 to Tier 2, allowing for non-architectural metal on the sides and back of the building.


Council member Mark Cross abstained from voting on the issue, citing a tie to the architectural work on the project.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 855-5874 or . Follow on Twitter at .

Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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