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City Council approves park plans

After an hour-long discussion about priorities for spending the city’s accumulating Local Sales Tax Option dollars that didn’t result in any kind of clear mandate, Cloquet City Council members and Mayor Bruce Ahlgren did award a contract for designing several park improvements to SEH Inc. during the formal meeting on Tuesday.

The Park Commission had previously identified the following parks improvements as their first priority toward implementation of the recently completed Parks Master Plan:

  •  Pinehurst Park — Reconstruction of the two existing tennis courts, reconstruction of the parking area to include paving and seasonal use as a hockey rink, and landscape and drainage improvements surrounding the tennis courts, parking and central park areas.
  •  Sunnyside Park — Reconstruction of two existing tennis courts and one basketball court, reconstruction of entrance/parking area to include seasonal use as a hockey rink, and landscape and drainage improvements surrounding courts and parking areas.
  •  Fauley Park — Construction of a shelter structure over the train as well as landscape improvements to include possible fencing or trail development.

Assistant City Engineer Caleb Peterson said there is funding already set aside for the Pinehurst Park tennis courts, but the other projects are unbudgeted.

They certainly qualify for sales tax dollars. Revenues raised by the tax are not to be used to finance normal city expenditures, only those outlined in the legislation passed by the Minnesota House and Senate. Therefore, revenues from the Cloquet sales tax can only be used for the following items included in the legislation:

  •  Construction and completion of park improvement projects, including — but not limited to — the St. Louis riverfront area; Veterans, Hilltop and Braun parks; Pine Valley (both the park and two hockey arenas); and development of pedestrian trails within the city.
  •  Extension of utilities and improvements associated with the development of commercial property adjacent to Highway 33 and Interstate 35.
  •  Engineering and construction of public infrastructure improvements, including storm sewer, sanitary sewer and water, as well as city streets.

Also on Tuesday, Mayor Ahlgren and City Councilors approved the following:

  •  The appointment of Gerard Sordelet to serve on the Library Board, finishing Terry Anderson’s term, which expires at the end of this year. Anderson resigned recently.
  •  The purchase of a sewer camera for $63,704 and a trailer to carry the camera for almost $19,000 as well as a generator for $3,289.
  •  Approved a site plan and conditional use permit for a new Kwik Trip gas station/convenience store at the intersection of North Cloquet Road and Highway 33, on a lot that is currently vacant. The Cloquet Planning Commission reviewed the request May 13 and recommended the Council approve the plan and variance.

The proposed development would be 60 percent impervious, and 40 percent green space, which would include 68 shrubs and five ornamental trees. The company would also construct a sidewalk along North Road from Highway 33 to Adams Street along with a sidewalk extending north to the building and a bike rack.