Over the next few months, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will be seeking input from the Hackensack community on the Highway 371 reconstruction project through downtown, scheduled for 2023.  

A MnDOT delegation attended the July 1 council meeting to announce that they will be gathering input on how the “urban section” of Hwy. 371 — from CSAH 5 on the north to CSAH 40 on the south, including the tricky CSAH 5/Hwy. 371 intersection near Swanson’s Bait — could or should be reconfigured.

Senior Transportation Project Manager John Griffith said MnDOT will look at what can be done within the 80 feet MnDOT owns: options for parking, center turn lanes, sidewalks, accesses, maybe even boulevards, all designed to make the area safer and more liveable.

“We want to engage all affected businesses and property owners, residents and civic groups in Hackensack;  give them an opportunity to comment, make suggestions and raise concerns,” he stressed.

MnDOT wants to contact as many Hackensack residents as possible via mailings and social media, and at open houses, starting in November. It also hopes to spread the word by having information booths at events like Sweetheart Days, September’s Chain Saw Festival, Sacred Heart’s August Flea Market and others.

Griffith said MnDOT’s goal is to create an advisory board representing a cross-section of interests, not just one perspective.

The deadline for Hwy. 371’s geometric design is April 2020. (The geometric design of a highway deals with the dimensions and layout of visible features of the highway.)

The city will provide MnDOT with a list of all business and property owners along the highway. Once MnDOT has compiled the names of interested residents, the council will help select an advisory board.

Nancy Graham is MnDOT’s program manager (Dist. 2-Bemidji). She can be reached at nancy.graham@state.mn.us.

Project manager Griffith is with HDR Inc., an architectural, engineering and consulting firm working with MnDOT. He can be reached at john.griffith@hdrinc.com.

Hackensack residents interested in being part of the process can also contact City Hall at 675-6400 or any council member.


In other business, Dennis Ganz, representing the Hackensack Lions, presented the city with an Automatic Electronic Defibrillator (AED) and a storage cabinet, for the Community Building.

The council accepted another Lions donation of  “Paul Jr.’s toy train,” presented by Lion Julie Kline. The train is composed of six wooden train cars, big enough for kids to sit in, and will be installed near the playground equipment in city park.

Kline said the Lions have installed new benches in the park, are working on new picnic tables for the pavilion and will be adding two new adult/child swings to the playground area.

A proposal to stripe the city’s tennis courts for pickleball was tabled until the August meeting, in the hopes that both pickleball and tennis players can attend to discuss pros and cons.

A proposal to replace some of the city’s security camera equpment was also tabled for more information.


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