Baxter City Council joins land management agreement with Camp Ripley
The council also voted to rename a stretch of trail on Oakwood Drive
With a unanimous vote Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Baxter City Council agreed to a land management agreement with the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, Camp Ripley for collaboration with land management of 880 acres of open space southwest of Baxter.
“The intent of the (agreement) is to allow projects when those goals align and so there's no pre-stated commitments,” Community Development Director Josh Doty said. “The agreement doesn't specifically outline specific tasks that are envisioned onto this spirit of resource management related to the land in southwest Baxter.”
Under a memorandum of understanding between both parties, two entities would share a commitment to seek opportunities to work together on projects that are consistent with goals shared by the department and the city. According to the memorandum, both parties need to agree to projects and neither entity is obligated to commit funds.
Council member Todd Holman said there aren’t many examples of similar agreements between local municipalities and military installations, citing an example of Camp Blanding in Florida — though, that one is complicated by ongoing disputes over endangered gopher tortoise populations, while the agreement between Camp Ripley and Baxter doesn’t appear to have any external factors at this time.
Council member Zach Tabatt said he was appreciative of staffers from both the city of Baxter and Camp Ripley.
“I just wanted to thank both Josh Doty and Josh Pennington and everyone else who is involved in making this agreement,” Tabatt said. “Just for the work you obviously put in as these things don't just happen, especially when you're dealing with entities the size of Camp Ripley and trying to align all of these objectives. So, thanks for putting in that work. I'm looking forward to seeing positive things come out of this.”
In other business, the council:
Approve naming the new trail on Oakwood Drive, from Whipple Beach to Cedar Scenic Road, as “Leech Lake Road” trail. Members also approved informational kiosks and a community entrance bench to be placed on the trail. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, council members had convened for a work session where they discussed the history of the area that led to the new name for the segment of trail. Mayor Darrel Olson said he was fine with the idea, but did express misgivings for naming a small two-block segment of trail that would likely be known as simply the “trail on Oakwood Drive” to local residents.
Approved conversion of unused vacation hours to deferred compensation payments for all eligible department heads working for the city of Baxter.
Approved a job description and budgeted for a position for an administrative position for both streets and utilities and parks and trails to assist with the day to day administrative tasks of both departments.
GABRIEL LAGARDE may be reached at email@example.com or 218-855-5859. Follow at www.twitter.com/glbrddispatch .