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Baxter City Council: Council reviews revamped roundabout

BAXTER--With the exit of a proposed restaurant and retail space development, Baxter is changing the design for the future roundabout at Excelsior Road.

A planned roundabout on Excelsior and Edgewood in Baxter won'd have an anticipated southern leg at this time as the development driving the addition pulled back from a proposed restaurant and retail plan.
A planned roundabout on Excelsior and Edgewood in Baxter won'd have an anticipated southern leg at this time as the development driving the addition pulled back from a proposed restaurant and retail plan.

BAXTER-With the exit of a proposed restaurant and retail space development, Baxter is changing the design for the future roundabout at Excelsior Road.

The roundabout is planned just west of Excelsior's intersection with Highway 371 by the Holiday Stationstore and Frandsen Bank. Tuesday, the council and a handful of audience members received an update on the design during a work session.

With the latest design, Edgewood would be rerouted farther west between the strip mall with Boomer's Pizza and the Brenny Funeral and Cremation Service. Currently the Edgewood Drive frontage street runs in front of Boomer's Pizza.

The roundabout would not have the previously planned southern leg or extension of Edgewood Drive to the south for a connection with Fairview Road. The leg wouldn't be constructed at this time, but would be designed into the roundabout for future development. The roundabout would serve traffic on the much-traveled Excelsior Road and connect north to Edgewood Drive as it leads to Cub Foods and the residential and commercial area on the west side of Highway 371.

When the subject of reconfiguring Excelsior and Edgewood came up along with the link to Fairview Road, the city heard of the possibility of a number of construction projects with the potential to increase traffic. Cub Foods remodeled its store and new development was expected, and is now indeed underway, at the Gander Mountain site.

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The project has not been without contention as neighboring property owners were at points vocal critics of the plan and the rerouted street. Joe Brenny, of Brenny Funeral Chapel and Chris Quisberg, Cub Foods, were present for Tuesday's session.

Todd Holman, council member and vice mayor, sat in for an absent Mayor Darrel Olson who was with family. Holman questioned and was assured property was reserved on the southwestern side of the roundabout for a future trail link. Council member Steve Barrows asked if the plan to leave in a temporary left-out drive option for Frandsen Bank wouldn't negatively impact stacking of vehicles turning onto Excelsior from Highway 371. That route can be tricky currently when motorists turning off the highway are faced with suddenly slow traffic making a turn into the Holiday Stationstore. Chuck Rickart with WSB and Associates confirmed again the left-turn exit would be a temporary option.

Council member Quinn Nystrom noted the planned development-which anticipated increased traffic demands in the area with the addition of a substantial sit-down restaurant-was the major driver in updating the streets and adding the roundabout. The land in question, known as the Fruth property, is south of Frandsen Bank. Nystrom said even with the developer pulling out, she hoped the property would be paying an assessment related to their portion of the benefit of the improved street. Rickart said the property would be part of the assessment.

Later in the regular council session, the council approved the right-of-way plat for the 2018 Excelsior and Edgewood improvement project.

The council adjourned to a special budget work session scheduled at 6 p.m. Aug. 29.

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