Cloquet moves forward with sand-bottom pond planCloquet City Council members agreed Tuesday to dive into restoring the sand-bottom pond at Pinehurst Park.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
Cloquet City Council members agreed Tuesday to dive into restoring the sand-bottom pond at Pinehurst Park.
"[Let's] move forward as of today," said Cloquet Mayor Bruce Ahlgren during the working session before their council meeting.
Although the Minnesota Department of Health told city administrators months ago they would not approve any swimming facility with sand incorporated into the design, the city has appealed to them and additionally has sought assistance from local legislators.
An amendment to a Senate bill essentially "grandfathering in" repairs to the pond will likely pass, according to Ahlgren, who spoke with Sen. Tony Lourey this week.
If that happens, the city will not have to involve the Minnesota Department of Health in its plans to restore the pond, according to Brian Fritsinger, city administrator.
To that end, city councilors asked Fritsinger to begin writing a request for proposal to solicit bids for the work needed to repair and restore the swimming facility, which has been closed since 2005.
Councilors also agreed to form a committee to oversee the process. Tentatively, the group will be comprised of Ahlgren, council members David Bjerkness and Neil Nemmers, two members to be determined from the Cloquet Parks Commission, two members of the Pinehurst neighborhood working group that has championed the pond restoration all along, and a representative of Cloquet Community Education, which oversees swimming facility operations.
In other council matters, Cloquet Police asked and received authorization to participate with the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office to obtain additional software and printers in area squad cars through a federal grant. The new technology will improve efficiency when officers write tickets as it automatically downloads the information into court systems, according to Wade Lamirande, Cloquet Police chief.
The city also received an application from Evergreen Knoll for a permit authorizing an expansion at their assisted-living housing complex. The permit, which was unanimously approved, will allow construction of 26 new cottage-style dwellings and conversion of part of an apartment building for a memory care facility, resulting in a net increase of 12 units.
The city additionally approved motions to schedule public hearings regarding assessments on two sewer and water reconstruction projects. Public hearings regarding the project on 15th Street and the project on Industry Avenue will be held at 7 p.m. on May 6 in the city council chambers.
Councilors also awarded a $121,000 contract to Redstone Construction for the South Oak sewer extension project on Big Lake Road. This bid was the lowest received by the city.