3/14/2019 3:40:00 PM Center City Council hears request from bars for docking expansion
Three bar-restaurant owners approached the Center City Council last week to see if the city would consider purchasing dockage, providing boaters space on North Center Lake, to tie-up within walking distance of the business district. The city provides a small dock for tie-ups, which was donated by Jill Behnke and there’s also a larger wood fishing pier on that end of the lake--not suitable for docking-- provided through a MN Department of Natural Resources pier grant program. Boaters are also allowed to beach their craft on the shoreline.
Clint Parnell and Al Hohn representing Grumpy Minnow and Al’s Saloon, attended the council meeting (Pizza Pub owners reportedly are also supportive of the request.) Grumpy Minnow (formerly Swenson’s) owner Parnell alluded to the city doing businesses a favor; seeing how much property taxes in Center City are, compared to what he is assessed for another Grumpy Minnow on Chisago County’s Rush Lake. The men were advised the city does not own the shoreline, however.
Center City controls one access lot on SOUTH Center Lake, south of Highway 8, but the county owns along North Center Lake. Acquisition and the razing of a small cabin was tied to County Road 9 improvements and a stormwater project completed a few years ago. Docking provided now is authorized by Chisago County in an informal arrangement, and council doubted the county would facilitate something more marina-like.
The city park board will review the request on its March meeting agenda, and perhaps make suggestions, but council made no promises. The city parks group meets at Phil’s Grill at 8:30 a.m. March 29.
Parnell mentioned he has 12 slips serving The Grumpy Minnow on the north end of Chisago County, and could use more. But, he owns the lakeshore there, adding he’s not going to purchase dockage when he doesn’t own the North Center lakeshore.
In other matters:
Center City Council will go through nine applications submitted for a part time administrative post and choose finalists to be interviewed-- in a special meeting potentially on March 18 at 6:30 p.m. Start date for an additional, approximately 10 hour-a-week deputy clerk, is planned for sometime in April.
A special date was also scheduled for more review of the use agreement for the fire fighters to be part of the emergency radio communications matrix.
The county commissioners developed an interim contract for 2019 after a couple drafts were distributed and revised in recent months. (story Press Feb. 28)
The council heard last week from Center City Fire Chief Jim Marxer there are still concerns. Marxer said language is slanted towards the county. “We don’t want to keep being held over a barrel whenever the contract comes up,” he continued.
County systemwide costs are being apportioned to the city police and fire radio system members unfairly, he said.
“We don’t have a voice,” in the process or operations of the communications network either, he declared. Council decided to devote a meeting just on this issue and set Wednesday, March 27, at 9 a.m. to go through the issues.
Chisago County radio warranties have expired and most of the member cities opted in favor of receiving the radios as “surplus” but Marxer said there’s no assurances the radios will be cut-off the system should the county feel like it in the future.
The first ARMER (a state allied radio matrix emergency response) contract has expired after five years, or the end of 2018. The county has been working on getting a next generation agreement in place for several months.
Regarding the on-going fire hall expansion/upgrades, it was announced the right-sized trusses are finally up. Minor finishing remains and then the interior work like sheetrock and insulating will get underway. Caulking awaits warmer weather.
City Public Works Director Eric Garner reported the winter’s heavy snowfall has tapped-out the department’s de-icing supplies. No salt based inventory can be found to buy anywhere either.
He said “If things seem to be a little less-treated (streets), there’s not much we can do.” A less effective crushed rock product can be substituted, but the department will see how it goes.