8/5/2022 2:11:00 PM Large groups will pay more to use Chisago City parks
by LEILANI FREEMAN
Groups of more than 100 people needing permits for reserving Paradise and Moberg parks in Chisago City will now pay higher damage deposits and fees for additional portable toilets and trash containers.
A growing demand for use of city parks by large groups prompted Chisago City Park Board to request a policy change. On July 26, the Chisago City Council reviewed the park board’s proposal and made a few additional changes before approving the final document.
Parks Superintendent Doris Zacho explained that over the past year the city has received an unusual number of requests for use of Paradise and Moberg parks for large events not hosted by the city. These included parties for more than 400 people with food trucks and entertainment, a renaissance festival event, and a company picnic for more than 300. The city’s existing park policy was not designed for groups of this size. As a result, city staff requested a new policy covering large events.
The revised policy approved by the council calls for a minimum $500 refundable damage deposit and a minimum nonrefundable $250 fee for rental of additional trash containers and portable toilets. This is in addition to usual rental fees for use of the park grounds and the pavilions. (Nonresidents pay higher rental fees than residents.)
Additional permits, fees, and $1.5 million in liability insurance coverage (available through a homeowners policy or third party insurance) are required if alcohol will be served at an event. With a permit, alcohol in cans may be served and consumed in park pavilions but not carried around in the park.
Obtaining the necessary permits does not give renters exclusive rights to any park. City parks remain open to the public daily between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Under the new policy, city staff reserve the right to further increase fees based on the size and nature of an event and to deny or revoke a permit if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the city or park users.
In other business, the council: - heard an update presented by City Administrator John Pechman regarding the Stacy-Lent Township merger discussions. Pechman attended the July 25 public meeting hosted by Lent Township. He told the council it is possible the orderly annexation process could be completed by the end of the year.
As part of the orderly annexation, Chisago City is requesting sections of Lent Township closest to Chisago City and east of the Carlos Avery Wildlife Management Area be annexed to Chisago City. Pechman told the council a number of township residents from that area had approached him after the meeting expressing concerns about being annexed and about gravel roads in their area.
Pechman also told the council that Chisago City may want to consider a five-year phase-in of property taxes for the annexed area similar to what was used in the Wyoming Township annexation.
- did not approve a request from the owner of Scooter’s Bar and Grill to allow roping off the sidewalk in front of the business patio and the next door building (which they also own), to allow bar patrons to watch the Ki Chi-Saga Days parade with drinks in hand. After council discussion and with input from Police Chief Schlumbohm, the council instead voted to allow Scooters to fence in an area of their parking lot next to the building, where drinks can be consumed during the parade and with access from the building only (no external entrance or exit from the fenced area.) Council members were concerned that allowing Scooters customers to use part of the sidewalk would force parade spectators onto the street adding to congestion at that corner which is already very crowded during the parade, and also that customers would pass alcoholic beverages to others not within the area where alcohol was permitted.
- appointed two new members to the park board to fill vacancies created by the resignations of Members Stephanie Smith and Nicole Hackl.
The council voted unanimously to appoint park board applicants Kaylen Olinger and Dan Charpentier. Mayor Gustafson endorsed the appointment saying, “These are two good applicants who I highly recommend.”
- voted to donate a portion of the city’s share of charitable gambling proceeds as follows: $10,000 for the annual Ki Chisago Days fireworks, $900 for the Fire Department volunteer steak fry, $2,000 for the Children’s Lighting Festival activities, and $2,500 for volunteer recognition. Each year the city receives 10 percent of charitable gambling proceeds generated by the Lakes Area Recreation Association, Chisago City Fire Relief and the recently added, Lake Center for Youth and Families. The fund currently has a balance of $41,500.
- unanimously approved a variance for sideyard setbacks from structures and septic system requested at 10196 Kismet Isle. The setback changes will allow a garage and driveway closer than permitted by ordinance. As recommended by the city planning commission, the applicant must install gutters on the garage to reduce potential runoff onto the septic system. Neighbors spoke in favor at a July 7 planning commission hearing.