The Walker City Council moved one step closer to finalizing plans for a new public library that will replace the current structure that is eroding away and sinking.

At the Jan. 6 regular meeting, the council approved the library building draft plans.

The Library Board has been working with the city staff over the last few months to create a floor plan for the library. The plan, which is being designed for the current library location, includes dedicated areas for children and adults, a reading area on the lake view side with larger windows, a gas fireplace as an option, a canopy entry area to create a more grand entrance, both concrete block veneer and engineered wood siding, and a half basement for storage and for the mechanical room.

The next step is to have HyTech create more detailed drawings to give the council and Library Board a cost estimate for the project. Once the drawings are completed the city can move forward with a construction contract with Gordian and Sourcewell for not just the library, but the public restrooms that are expected to cost around $100,000.

Finding funds for the library will start once the city has a cost figure.

At a recent library branch managers’ meeting, it was brought up that Wadena raised funds for their library by selling bricks and pavers, and giving naming rights to the rooms. They received $50,000 for the AV room alone.

Leech Lake TV franchise fee

The council has decided to void the franchise fee contract with Leech Lake TV Corporation, a move that will save the city $30,000 a year.

When Leech Lake TV was first formed back in 1984, there were only a couple of channels. Leech Lake TV now has about 13 channels, and in 2019 they started a live broadcast of fall sports games at Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School, something they have carried over into 2020.

Larry Kimball and Brad Spry told the council that Leech Lake TV has done a lot for the community over the years, and is still committed to doing that.

“If we don’t have these funds, things will change. We might not be able to cover sporting events at the school,” Spry said.

The council advised Kimball and Spry to check with local townships to see if they are willing to donate. The council also told Kimball and Spry they can come back in the future to request a donation.

City Administrator Terri Bjorklund said the money could go toward the downtown restrooms the city is planning to build.

In other city business, the council:

Passed a resolution stating annual designations.

Passed a resolution authorizing the mayor and city administrator to sign all state and federal airport grants.

Passed a resolution authorizing the mayor and city administrator to sign all state and federal grants.

Accepted donations through fiscal year 2020. This includes $3,000 from American Legion Post 134 for pull tabs and $100 from First National Bank.

The Walker Lions Club will receive $2,000 of the Legion donation and the other $1,000 will go Cycling Without Age Program.

Approved transfer of $644.17 from general fund to the Legion Abatement fund for the second half of 2019 abatement payment to Post 134.

Approved sending Deputy Register Carol Longfellow to the Jan. 23 MNDrive demonstration in Baxter at a cost of wages and mileage.

Approved sending Police Chief Wayne Tennis to executive training in St. Cloud April 19-22 at a cost of $485 plus mileage, meals and lodging.

Accepted JoAnn Rand’s letter of resignation, with appreciation, as a liquor store clerk dated Dec. 23. Rand has been a part-time clerk for many years.

Approved 2020 Council Committee appointments as presented by Mayor Jed Shaw.

Approved the new logo for the city’s new squad car.

Approved meeting minutes of Planning Commission Board of Adjustments for Nov. 25.

Approved Library Board meeting minutes for Nov. 20.

Appointed Councilor Char Moore as the Walker representative to the Kitchigami Regional Library Board.

Approved the Walker Park Advisory Board meeting minutes of Nov. 26.

Approved application for Chase the Police Triathlon be held in the lower city park and lighthouse area July 25 from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. for about 250 participants, contingent on submittal of certificate of insurance naming the city as additionally insured. Clean-up will be completed about 2 p.m. the same day and set up will begin the night before.

Councilor Gary Wilkening was concerned about closing off the beach the night before, but Spry assured him it will actually only be closed the morning of the event  about an hour before the triathlon begins.

Approved application for the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament in the lower city park  May 30-31 for about 400 participants, contingent on submittal of certificate of insurance naming the city as additionally insured. Set-up will begin May 29 and clean-up is the final day of the annual event.

Approved application for the Spring Bike Fling in the lower city park for about 50 participants May 30 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Set-up would begin at 8 a.m. and clean-up completed by 3 p.m.

This event, sponsored by Leech Lake Chamber, is being held in conjunction with the Leech Lake Walleye Tournament.

Heard that city offices and DMV will be closed Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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