County offers Brainerd control of Riverside Drive segment

Both the city and county have separate priorities for road improvements, a county official explained in a memo, which could include bike/pedestrian trails, access management and more.

The city of Brainerd is exploring to option of taking over control of Riverside Drive from Highway 210/Washington Street to Beaver Dam Road from the county. The road is set to be reconstructed later this year. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

With an upcoming reconstruction project later this year on Northwest Fourth Street and County Highway 20, Crow Wing County has given the city of Brainerd the option to take control of a portion of the county-owned roadway involved.

The road in question is the portion of County Highway 20/Riverside Drive running from Highway 210/Washington Street to Riverside Drive, which serves a heavy residential area to the north along with through traffic.

“The 2020 project will ensure it can continue to operate as intended into the future,” Assistant County Engineer Rob Hall wrote in a memo to the Brainerd City Council. “It is also an important route to the City as it looks to serve its residents and commercial properties, existing and future. One way to address all needs is to transfer jurisdiction of the roadway from the County to City.”

Both the city and county have separate priorities for road improvements, Hall explained in the memo, which could include bike/pedestrian trails, access management and more.

If the transfer were to happen, the city would fully control the 2020 project, but the county would still pay its portion of the project and offered to cover the city construction portion of the project ($52,475), along with giving the city $121,322 to repave the road from Jackson Street to Beaver Dam Road in the future.


A caveat to the transfer is placing the street on the Minnesota State Aid System, which Hall said would need to happen, otherwise the county would have to reimburse the state a portion of past state aid funds. City Engineer Paul Sandy told city council members Tuesday, Jan. 21, he believes the city would receive about $20,000 a year in additional state aid funds for the road. Assuming the city rides out the existing pavement surface until the end of its life and then uses the $121,322 in resurfacing funds from the county to make the road last another 20 years, the city would have gained about $400,000 in state aid funds over that 20 years, which it could use for other state aid roads.

Brainerd City Engineer Paul Sandy addresses the safety and public works committee Tuesday, Jan. 21, discussing Crow Wing County's offer to turn over control of a portion of Riverside Drive to the city. Theresa Bourke / Brainerd Dispatch

Money aside, council member Kelly Bevans said during Tuesday’s safety and public works committee meeting he looks at strictly whether having control of the road is in the city’s best interest. Bevans said he was around the last time the road was worked on and remembered disagreements between the city and the former county engineer, who at the time did not like the idea of bike lanes or anything that could potentially get in the way of traffic. Since then, Bevans said the city has received numerous complaints about pedestrians and bikers not being able to traverse that stretch of road.

Bike lanes or pedestrian trails is something council member Jan Lambert said the city has wanted to do on that road for a long time, which Sandy agreed would be a benefit of the city taking control.

The council did not take action on the item, but Sandy said he would come back with more information in February, as the city should reply to the county’s offer soon.

In other business Tuesday, the council:

Accepted fourth-quarter donations to the city: Great Pumpkin Festival supplies from Walmart; pumpkins for the Great Pumpkin Festival from Outback Trail Rides; $150 from Brainerd Jaycees for Memorial Park field improvements; and $400 from Brainerd Lakes Area Women of Today for a security camera for Gregory Park.


Approved donations to the fire department: $300 from ATEK Cos. for public education; $100 general donation from Brainerd Jaycees Lil’ Rubber Duckie Race; $9,500 from Essentia Health Foundation for PulsePoint; $50 from Lakes Dental Care for public education; $300 from Lift Tech Marine for public education; $200 from Lowell Parent Teacher Association for public education; $1,000 from Mid-Minnesota Federal Credit Union for PulsePoint; and $50 from Pike Plumbing & Heating for public education.

Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license application from Brainerd Sports Boosters for an event April 8 at Essentia Health Sports Center.

Approved a temporary on-sale liquor license for The Center for an event Feb. 15.

Authorized staff to enter into an agreement with Invoice Cloud for city departments to begin processing credit cards in March and directed staff to continue to pass the user fees onto the cardholder. The parks department was not included in the agreement.

Rescheduled a potentially dangerous dog hearing to the Feb. 3 council meeting.

Scheduled a work session for 6 p.m. Feb. 10, in the training room at the Brainerd Police Department to discuss upcoming projects, including the Region Five Children’s Museum and the Economic Development Authority.

Heard from City Administrator Jennifer Bergman, who is working with City Attorney Joe Langl on a purchase agreement for the Memorial Park parking lot from owner Mike Higgins and plans to bring that before the council Feb. 3.


THERESA BOURKE may be reached at or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at .

Theresa Bourke started working at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and area education, including Brainerd Public Schools and Central Lakes College.
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