The LaPrairie City Council convened for its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Feb. 6 at city hall. Previously, City Engineer Glen Hodgson had been directed by the council to do some preliminary work in estimating the cost to build a trail from Mary Ann Drive to the pedestrian and snowmobile bridge at Veterans Park in Grand Rapids.
The trail would lie between the railroad track and the Mississippi River. Hodgson said the trail would be approximately four-fifths of a mile long, if built. It would cross Burlington Northern Railroad property, at least two private parcels of property and a parcel owned by the city of Grand Rapids. Hodgson said the preliminary cost of the trail would be in the neighborhood of $400,000. Of that amount, trail construction would cost about $283,000, a ravine crossing would cost approximately $53,000 and engineering fees would total about $67,000.
Hodgson cautioned the council that the cost of the project was preliminary and that there were additional issues that need to be investigated. His biggest concern was easement acquisition, particularly with respect to Burlington Northern Railroad. Hodgson indicated that negotiations with Burlington Northern for easement acquisition would likely be lengthy.
Kaitlin Box of Get Fit Itasca was on hand on behalf of Get Fit Itasca and offered her perspective on the project. Hawks said Get Fit Itasca definitely supported the project and wanted to see it come to life. Box said that she would be willing to look into grants and other resources to help offset the cost of the project.
Mayor Lynn O’Brien expressed an interest in convening a meeting with Get Fit Itasca and Hodgson to discuss financing options for the project. O’Brien said “I think it’s a great project; I just wouldn’t ask our residents to foot that kind of money.”
O’Brien floated the idea of a stoplight on Highway 2 in the neighborhood of the proposed trail, citing access for LaPrairie residents north of the highway and safety issues for the light. Hodgson said that he has not discussed that idea with anyone. Hodgson, Get Fit Itasca, and the Council agreed to continue looking at the project.
In other business, the council:
• Authorized the City Clerk to attend a safety and loss prevention control workshop in Cohasset.
• Voted to repair the city’s pickup truck at Dale’s Auto Body in the amount of $1,083.34 with funds derived from an insurance claim on the truck in the amount of $790.50 with the balance of the bill to be covered by the building and maintenance budget.
• Declined to renew the city’s animal control contract with Grand Rapids in favor of using the Itasca County Sheriff’s office for those services.
• Authorized having new zoning maps printed by SEH at a cost of $450.00.
• Approved a $250.00 donation to First Call For Help.
• Authorized payment of Worker’s compensation insurance in the amount of $244.00.