With traffic volumes expected to increase into the future following the construction of the new Baxter Elementary School, the western portion of Mapleton Road is ripe for improvements.

Assistant Crow Wing County Engineer Rob Hall asked the county board Tuesday, Feb. 9, to support an application for funding from the state to support the future project, which would seek to reconstruct County Road 170, otherwise known as Mapleton Road, west of Mountain Ash Drive. According to Hall, that portion of the road was not constructed to any standard and is not built to handle additional traffic capacity.

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“We first paved it in 2005, and that was the last really construction activity on that road,” Hall said. “With the schools opening up and the potential residential and commercial development, we feel that Mapleton Road is an ideal candidate for this program.”

Rob Hall, assistant county engineer, shares details of a proposed improvement project for the western portion of Mapleton Road while participating virtually Tuesday, Feb. 9, in a Crow Wing County Board meeting. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins
Rob Hall, assistant county engineer, shares details of a proposed improvement project for the western portion of Mapleton Road while participating virtually Tuesday, Feb. 9, in a Crow Wing County Board meeting. Screenshot / Chelsey Perkins

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The Local Roads Improvement Program, administered by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, seeks to fund routes of regional significance. If funding is granted, Hall said the road must be built to county state aid highway standards, meaning 12-foot-wide lanes and 6-foot-wide shoulders.

The application for funding would be made jointly with Cass County, which would plan to address its portion of the roadway as a continuous connection to Cass County Highway 36. If funds are awarded, Hall said the project would be scheduled for 2023.

The board approved the request unanimously.

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In other business, the county board:

Supported the grant application of the Garrison Commercial Club to the Federal Recreational Trail Grant Program to fund the purchase of snowmobile trail grooming equipment for the Garrison area. The grant requires a 25% match of funds, which the club has secured. Crow Wing County would serve as the fiscal agent for the grant if awarded — meaning it would pass along the funds to the club but would have no financial obligation itself.

Agreed to provide no comment on a proposed tax increment financing district in Pequot Lakes. The district, which if approved would be located in the Heart of the Good Life Commercial Park in the city, would be created to encourage development in the 85-acre commercial and industrial park.

Tax increment financing is an economic development tool used to help businesses offset the costs of redeveloping a site. Instead of paying higher taxes immediately upon completion of a new building, a business instead will use those tax savings to cover the costs of demolition and new construction.

It’s been Crow Wing County Board practice for several years to withhold comment on the establishment of TIF districts while also expressing general concern about the impact on individual taxpayers.

Made no objections to appointments made by Chairman Steve Barrows to citizen committees, including Kaitlyn Roach, an alternate to the Central Minnesota EMS Region Advisory Committee, and Dean Makey, a forestry professional for the Natural Resources Advisory Committee.

Roach is currently the community outreach coordinator for Life Link III and has been heavily involved in public safety in Crow Wing County, County Administrator Tim Houle stated in a request for board action.

Makey retired from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in 2013 and is currently working as a private consulting forester, mostly writing forest management plans for private landowners. Makey was involved in establishing the school forest at Forestview Middle School and the 60-acre plot is named for him.

Authorized entering into contracts with the townships of Bay Lake, Center, Crow Wing, Fort Ripley and Ideal to provide coordination services for the 2021 March elections.

Approved a resolution conveying excess highway right of way along County Highway 18 to the city of Nisswa.

Approved the hiring of Nicholas Pearson as a corrections officer, replacing Nathan Gunkel after his promotion to probation agent.

Approved the promotions of Jason Bye to sheriff’s deputy, Amber Berent to records supervisor in the sheriff’s office and Ashley Gage to social worker in community services.

Accepted the departure of Rick Bard, patrol deputy in the sheriff’s office.

Authorized replacement staffing for a 911 communications officer, two corrections officers, a temporary corrections officer, a patrol deputy and a senior administrative technical specialist in community services. The board also authorized seasonal/temporary staffing for a geographical information systems and technical support interns, a seasonal engineering assistant and temporary mechanic in the highway department, four seasonal recreational assistants in the sheriff’s office and an environmental technician and aquatic invasive species watercraft inspectors in land services.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com. Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey.