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Baxter City Council: City continues talks on Cypress Drive plan

The Baxter City Council meets in a closed session Tuesday regarding the Cypress Drive extension and talks with BNSF Railway. In the end, the council requested an additional appraisal. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 2
Baxter City Council members Steve Barrows (left), Mayor Darrel Olson, Todd Holman and Mark Cross meet Tuesday. Council member Quinn Nystrom was absent. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 2

BAXTER—After a two-minute regular session Tuesday, the Baxter City Council met for nearly an hour in a closed meeting.

At the end of the session, Baxter City Attorney Brad Person stated the city would seek one more appraisal in ongoing talks with the BNSF Railway for the planned Cypress Drive extension. Construction plans are to connect Cypress Drive, which now dead-ends on the north and south side of Highway 210, across the highway near Super One Foods. The work will create a new signal light intersection at Highway 210 and Cypress. And two roundabouts would be created—one at Cypress and Excelsior Road near Super One Foods and the other at Cypress and College Road. In addition, the signal light on Highway 210 at Golf Course Drive, near Kohl's, would move east to the newly created Cypress Drive crossing.

The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported Wednesday $6 million was awarded to Baxter for the Cypress Drive connection to Highway 210, two new roundabouts, a new railroad crossing and signal, along with other improvements.

In other business, the council:

Appointed Tom Graumann as parks and trails intern. The position is compensated by National Joint Powers Alliance for 40 hours per week for up to 16 weeks.

Accepted a memorial park bench donation of $1,500 for a new bench at Whipple Beach Recreational Area in honor of Donald Eschenbacher.

Approved reallocation of $5,000 from Jewelwood Park rain garden to flower gardens in Oscar Kristofferson Park after realizing the rain garden would not work as planned because of soil and high groundwater conditions. Josh Doty, community development director, said the city is experiencing a 60-year high for groundwater.

Approve lease agreement with Baxter Snowmobile Club for use of city building. The club has been leasing the former public works building on Industrial Park Road since 2012 and requested a two-year lease extension from the current one that ends in March.

Adjourned to a special meeting at 6 p.m. March 15.

Council member Quinn Nystrom was out of state and did not attend the meeting.

At the last meeting in February, the council:

Approved the rezoning/planned unit development general and final plan allowing Gander Outdoors, Camping World and Overton's and a multi-tenant retail development at Edgewood Drive. The council previously adopted a plan to consolidate parcels when the initial project called for one building instead of two along Edgewood Drive just off Highway 210. The updated request called for a hybrid of the original plan, the city reported. The plan calls for a second building to join Aspen Dental and Caribou Coffee and Einstein Bros. Bagels. The planned recreational vehicle display area reduced its footprint. Gander Outdoors, Overton's and Camping World will occupy the entire Gander building with the display and sale of the RVs out front. The council approved a change from the recommendation from the Baxter Planning and Zoning Commission by adding a condition for a pedestrian ramp to connect the building to the east of The Light Depot with the new development.

Heard from Justin Barrick, 4897 Oak St., who thanked the council for the updates on construction projects in the city newsletter.

Approved a permit for retail sales of fireworks for Menards through Feb. 20, 2019.

Approved a temporary liquor license for the Brainerd American Legion event March 17 at the Northland Arboretum.

Approved a purchase of a Ford F-250 from Mills Motor, including plow and accessories, for $40,242.11.

Approved the Crow Wing County Highway Department's 2017 pavement marking cost share of $19,535.

Accepted weekly cleaning services for city hall from Marsden Building Maintenance for $597 a month, a 3 percent increase.

Approved amendment No. 2 To Contract No. 45902 Paul Bunyan State Trail/City of Baxter Trail Connections Cooperative Agreement Between the state of Minnesota and the city of Baxter.

In council comments, council member Todd Holman inquired about enforcing private sidewalk maintenance to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards and suggested developing an ordinance to require sidewalk maintenance. Mayor Darrel Olson thanked Boy Scouts for attending the meeting. Olson reported city officials were present for a ribbon-cutting at Dick's Sporting Goods. He also said Chief Jim Exsted and the Baxter Police Department represented the city well during a difficult week with a suicide in a Baxter business. Olson extended sympathies to the victim's family.

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