Riverside Drive closer to becoming city street ahead of construction

Assistant County Engineer Rob Hall said as the county and city worked together on the pending project, it became clear the two entities had different priorities for the road improvements, 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

Pending state approval, a small portion of Riverside Drive is set to be transferred from Crow Wing County ownership to the city of Brainerd.

The revocation of county state aid highway status comes amid a reconstruction project set for this summer on Northwest Fourth Street and County Highway 20, more commonly known as Riverside Drive, which serves a heavy residential area to the north along with through traffic. The Crow Wing County Board passed a resolution supporting the revocation at its Tuesday, March 10, meeting.

Assistant County Engineer Rob Hall said as the county and city worked together on the pending project, it became clear the two entities had different priorities for the road improvements, which could include bike/pedestrian trails, access management and more.

If the Minnesota Department of Transportation approves the transfer, 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. The Brainerd City Council already passed a resolution in support of the transfer.

The project includes installing a roundabout at the intersection of Northwest Fourth and Jackson streets, with a median extending from that intersection to Washington Street/Highway 210.


For the most part, the construction will take place within the existing right of way space on Northwest Fourth Street. The roundabout, though, will cut into properties on the corners of the Jackson Street intersection, meaning the Essentia Health Sports Center will lose about 16 parking spots.

From the new roundabout to Washington Street, the northbound portion of Northwest Fourth Street will narrow to one 18-foot lane, while the southbound side will be the same until James Street, when it will split into three lanes — two left turn lanes and one right turn/straight lane. A 10-foot walking trail, separated from the road by greenspace, will be added to the east side of the road, with designated crosswalks at the roundabout.

Currently drivers on James Street can cross Northwest Fourth or turn right and left. The addition of a 6-foot median means traffic coming off James Street will only be able to turn right, which project engineers with Bolton and Menk hope will decrease crashes involving left-turning vehicles. Engineers expect the roundabout to slow down traffic coming from Riverside Drive and reduce the likelihood of crashes at James Street.

In other business, the county board:

Approved a land use map amendment requested by the Bement Family Trust to reclassify 14.78 acres of land currently zoned as waterfront commercial. The trust requested 9.18 acres be rezoned to commercial 2, while the remaining 5.6 acres be rezoned to shoreland district. The lot located at 19365 Soder Road in Unorganized Territory is currently vacant, but a plat plan for a mixed-use development may be in the future, according to comments included on the request for board action.

Hosted a public hearing and approved a proposed reroute of the Pelican County Forest Road at the request of a landowner. The forest road, located in Pelican and Mission townships near Pelican Lake, allows access to a remote block of county land. The county recorded easements on 17 longstanding forest roads throughout the county in 2008 to improve access to some of its parcels. Formerly Potlatch property, the land is now in private ownership. The owner requested the forest road be rerouted along the township line rather than through the middle of their property.

Authorized the application for a grant from the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation to fund the removal of blighted structures from tax-forfeited property. Crow Wing County Land Services is leading a project to remove blighted structures from nine parcels, three of which are eligible for the Residential Redevelopment Grant Program due to their location within the Iron Range.

Awarded a contract for road maintenance — including snowplowing — in the First and Second assessment districts to Holmvig Excavating. The company has performed the maintenance work in those areas of the county since 2014. The new contract runs through May 15, 2023.


Awarded a contract for aggregate surfacing on County Highway 36 and roads in the First Assessment District to Anderson Brothers Construction Co., the low bidder. The bid was $199,972.50, which amounted to $26,631 less than the engineer’s estimate for the project.

Awarded a contract for crack sealing maintenance on various county highways and Ideal Township roads to Lot Pros Inc., the low bidder of six companies submitting bids. The bid was $219,442, which is $77,328 less than the engineer’s estimate.

Awarded a separate contract for crack sealing maintenance on various county highways and roads in the First Assessment District to Midwest Asphalt Maintenance, which submitted the lowest of seven bids. The bid was $95,786.65, which was less than half of the engineer’s estimate — $194,280.

Approved a purchase of service agreement with Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota for community-based family therapy as part of the Collaborative Intensive Bridging Services pilot project in community services. The cost of the services will be covered by grant funding from the state of Minnesota. The program seeks to keep youths at risk of residential placement in the community.

Authorized entering a grant agreement with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for funding to cover the cost of two boat motors and other items used for boat safety. The grant will be up to $29,500 and requires a trade-in or cost share by the county.

Approved an out-of-state travel request for two social workers to attend the RISE20 training, which focuses on specialty/treatment court models. The training will be May 27-30 in Anaheim, California. All expenses will be covered by Minnesota Specialty Courts.

Approved the promotion of Matt Badger to systems administrator I in the information technology department and the transfer of Karen Batholomaus to accounting technician in community services. The board also approved replacing a tech support technician II due to the promotion and replacing an administrative support supervisor due to the transfer. The vote was 3-2, with commissioners Paul Koering and Rosemary Franzen opposed. The two offered no explanation for their votes.

Approved the hiring of the following people: Chad Lardy, highway maintenance specialist, highway department; Phillip Ramsdell, 911 communication officer, sheriff’s office; Tamra Perleberg, customer services specialist, land services; Pauline Meyer, customer services specialist; and Jessica Loney, customer services specialist.


Accepted the departures of the following employees: Cassandra Oaks, assessor in training, land services; Steven Emerson, correctional officer, sheriff’s office; Raynor Blum, deputy, sheriff’s office; Cari Westphal, assessor, land services; Lauren Czarnecka, public health nurse, community services; and Dave Danielson, hazardous household waste technical assistant, land services. Replacement staff was approved for each of these positions.

Entered a closed session to conduct the performance reviews of County Administrator Tim Houle and Veterans Service Officer Erik Flowers, per Minnesota statute.

CHELSEY PERKINS may be reached at 218-855-5874 or . Follow on Twitter at .
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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