Potential trail plans between Vergas and Frazee coming up

Photo by Robert Williams
Frazee-Vergas High School student council president Kate Vigen and mayor Ken Miosek cut the ribbon on the Heartland Trail during a dedication ceremony Wednesday, Oct. 12, surrounded by students, community members and trail advocates. Emcee of that celebration Patrick Hollister of Partnership 4 Health will speak to the city council later this month on partnering with the city on a future trail plan that potentially includes connecting to Vergas and the Heart of the Lakes trail.

By Robert Williams

Editor

While the city awaits new city administrator Stephanie Poegel to start on Monday, Dec. 12, a short Committee of the Whole working session was held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, at the Event Center, with staff and committee reports dominating the discussion.

Zoning related amendments were discussed by the Planning and Zoning committee and there will be a public meeting at council later this month for amendments related to foundation requirements for manufactured homes and the use of campers as living quarters, according to Vice Mayor Mike Sharp.

Sharp also reported on a Parks and Recreation meeting with Hank Ludtke where a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Frazee Community Development Corporation (FCDC) was had regarding Wannigan Park.

“He said that everything is good to go on their end, so they will come before council in December, just outlining how things would work in the event grant funding didn’t come in, to make sure taxpayers are sheltered from expenses.”

A resolution was passed at the November city council meeting whereby the city is acting as a guarantor of a loan from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission to move forward with the purchase of the land northeast of the school from owner Greg Ness before the end of the year.

The no-interest loan is in place to meet Ness’ deadline to sell the property in 2022. FCDC fully expects to be awarded grants to cover the purchase and has already acquired three donations of $50,000 each. City officials and the FCDC have been working together to come to an agreement that shields taxpayers from any liability should grant funding not be received, with that agreement being imperative for the purchase and park project (wanniganpark.com) to proceed.

Future trail plans

Coming up at the Dec. 19 council meeting, Patrick Hollister of Partnership 4 Health will speak to the board and present an offer inviting the city to partner on creating a trail plan for Frazee.

Hollister recently spoke to the Vergas city council on plans to connect the Heart of the Lakes trail to Vergas and ultimately continue to a connection with the Heartland Trail in Frazee.

Fiscal host Clay County Public Health will compensate Frazee $5,000, negating the cost to hire a consultant to complete the trail plan.

Hollister presented a similar trail plan agreement to Vergas city officials saying it makes sense to include both trails at the same time. The approval of the Minnesota Department of Health is needed to fund the study, something Hollister believes will be approved.

The trail plan is conceptually focused, rather than including any engineering. The study would be used in the future for acquisition money.

Staff reports

Police calls in the month of November totaled 94 calls, 11 traffic related. Rescue responded to 30 calls, 13 in town, according to Police Chief Tyler Trieglaff.

Fire Chief Nathan Matejka reported the Fire Department had a quiet month with one call, a mutual aid run to Detroit Lakes.

The department will have in-house elections coming up to select the three department chiefs. Per approval from the council last month, the department has ordered a new multi-use pickup and skid unit.

There were 3,059,00 gallons of water treated, which represented a lowering of water usage, according to Public Works Superintendent Larry Stephenson. There were 57 pounds of fluoride added for the month of November and 470 pounds of chlorine. At the treatment plant, 2,170,000 gallons of wastewater was pumped for treatment.

City crews have been testing out winter plow equipment and doing some practice plowing around town. Lake Street plowing was also discussed with the likelihood of snow being left on the east sidewalk near downtown, given the 10-foot wide multi-use trail on the other side of the street.