The city of Brainerd plans to install a gate across the boat access off Evergreen Avenue for the time being until road conditions improve.

The Mississippi River access that sits between north and northeast Brainerd has become nearly impossible to navigate with a vehicle, City Engineer Paul Sandy told the Brainerd City Council’s safety and public works committee Monday, April 5. The muddy conditions are due to the spring thaw and the fact the road goes through a floodplain, Sandy said.

“Our city street department and parks do maintain this on a regular basis, so in summertime when it dries out, we'll go out there and grade it and put gravel in the spots that need it,” he said. “But typically in the spring, it becomes quite a mess and almost near impossible to get through with a vehicle. So then when vehicles do travel down the road, we get worse and worse ruts and things, and people use it more as a mud track than an actual roadway to get to the boat landing.”

The roadway, which is not a public street but is just used as an access to the city-owned boat landing, also gets used as a dumping site in the spring, Sandy said, because of it’s distance from the city street.

“We’re picking up mattresses and things like that that people get rid of in the springtime,” Sandy said. “So I think this could be a double benefit to the city.”

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The gate, which the city already has available, would save the city probably a couple thousand dollars a year with not having to grade the road and put gravel on it to fix the springtime damage.

Committee members asked about the feasibility of laying asphalt on the roadway to prevent the damage in the future, but Sandy said he foresees some environmental issues there with having to raise the grade and putting culverts in to ensure proper drainage of the floodplain.

“We keep dumping gravel in there, and it disappears,” Sandy said. “So that’s kind of the issue we’re dealing with right now.”

Foot traffic will still be allowed, but the gate will be placed so as to block vehicular traffic. Committee member Tad Erickson suggested putting signage up to make sure people know they can still walk down there, which Sandy said staff could do. The council also emphasized making sure the access is open for the state fishing opener in mid-May, which Sandy also assured them would happen.

In other business Monday, the council:

Accepted donations to the fire department: $25 from Bjerga Feed Stores for public fire safety education; $75 from Brainerd Building Construction Trades for public fire safety education; $2,332,03 from Brainerd Fire Department Relief Association for fire station treadmill, backpack blower, hammer drill and batteries; $3,000 from North Memorial Ambulance for PulsePoint Foundation.

Authorized a lawful gambling application from The Brainerd Eagles to conduct off-site gambling April 24-May 1 at Memorial Park.

Approved an event application for the annual Corpus Christi Processional from noon to 1:30 p.m. June 6 on Juniper, South Eighth and Willow streets. The processional begins at St. Francis Catholic Church and ends at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church.

Approved an event application for the new Downtown Brainerd Spring Fling, set May 7-8 throughout downtown Brainerd. The event will include shopping discounts, walking tours, in-store events and live jazz music. The Laurel Street parking lot will be closed for a portion of the weekend.

Approved a change order for the 2020 northeast Brainerd resurfacing project at a cost of $10,529.44. The project is still expected to come in on budget.

Updated the city’s transit operating policy to match with language in the American with Disabilities Act regarding mobility aid and device definitions and requirements.

Agreed to postpone the planned 2022 construction of a trail segment on Highway 25 to 2025 to be constructed alongside the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s Highway 210 project. The trail will extend from Fifth Avenue Northeast to 28th Street Southeast.

Accepted the resignation of paid on-call firefighter Daryl Rubbeke, effective March 5.

Authorized the hiring of Jacob Engst as a police officer, effective April 5. Engst will start at step 1 of the city’s wage grid, earning $28.26.

Approved an on-sale and Sunday liquor license for CC’s Bar LLC at 121 Washington Street.

Approved a variance request from Brainerd Public Schools as an amendment to the conditional use permit for update to Garfield Elementary School on 10th Avenue Northeast. The amendment reduces the side yard setback requirement from 20 feet to 16 feet, 5 and three-quarters inches to allow for a larger gymnasium.

THERESA BOURKE may be reached at theresa.bourke@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5860. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/DispatchTheresa.