Members of the Walker Library Board were at the Feb. 1 council meeting to speak about a new library and to lobby the council to look at purchasing the former Lucky Moose bar and restaurant site.

“The Library Board believes that the Lucky Moose location is worth a strong consideration for an economical and practical permanent location,” said Joe Sherman, who spoke as a community member and library advocate. “Andrew Carnegie stated that a library should be front and center in a community showing the importance of education and culture.”

The Lucky Moose is currently listed at $699,000. The site has a large parking lot, plenty of space for outdoor classes and programs, and the building is located next to the Paul Bunyan Trail.

Sherman said the facility will need remodeling to adapt to the library needs and the logs will need maintenance every five to 10 years, adding that the positive aspects out weigh the negative.

“This location would be a statement to everyone entering the town, that the Walker Library is an important symbol that welcomes you Up North, similar to the Walker Ranger Station, city park and the view of Walker Bay,” Sherman stated.

Library Board member Linda Nye said the board really wants to get moving on this.

“We are no further along than we were 10 years ago,” Library Board member Peggy Trimble added.

Fred Rogers said the city also needs to look to the future. “Where are we going to be 10 or 20 years from now? Technology is going to be different.”

The council was non-committal on the Lucky Moose idea, but did hear from Library Board member and realtor Theresa Bilben who offered to take any council members on a tour of the Lucky Moose.

Later in the meeting the council discussed the two city lots located in a residential area on Fifth Street that a landowner will donate to the city for a future library. Because the lots are for residential use only, the site can not be used for a new library.

After a short discussion, the council directed City Administrator Hope Fairchild to contact the land owners and request that they donate the lots to the city. All of the proceeds from that sale, plus property tax dollars for x amount of years would go into the fund for the new library.

Mayor Annie McMurrin and councilors Mary Beth Hansen and Gary Wilkening were the only ones to attend ther meeting.Councilor Jim Senenfelder participated virtually from Pharr, Texas, while Councilor Char Moore was unable to attend.

In other city business, the council:

Reviewed the January meeting minutes for the Walker Park Advisory Board, Walker Public Library, Public Works Committee and Walker Area Joint Fire Department.

Reviewed the sale tax receipts.

Reviewed the Cass County January tax settlement.

Reviewed the Walker City Special Assessments period 3 for 2020.

Reviewed the Volunteer Fire Relief Association Investment report card from the Minnesota Office of State Auditor.

Reviewed the Paul Bunyan Regional Safety Group agenda of Jan. 26.

Reviewed the Cass County Emergency Management quarterly meeting minutes from Jan. 26.

Approved the loan repayments of $20,701.95 plus special assessments on G.O. bonds to the Minnesota Public Facilities Authority.

Approved payment of $61,455 to Minnesota Power for relocation of existing overhead power lines underground at Railroad Avenue during the 2020 Northside Street Improvement project.

Approved payment of $20,038.64 to Ulteig for engineering services and reimbursable expenses for work on Northside Street Improvement project through Dec. 26.

Thanked Reed’s Family Outdoor Outfitters for the generous donation to the Police Department.

Approved ordinance 2021-01 for the 2021 Fee Schedule that was amended from 2019.

Accepted a donation of $1,000 from the Leech Lake Distributors, Inc., to the city.

Approved resolution for support of Tower Avenue Local Road Improvement program grant application. The city is looking at construction of a new segment of Tower Avenue, a 10-ton road design, starting at Division Street extending east to Highway 371 for the purposes of economic development and to provide safe transportation for commercial vehicles and to provide another access to Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School.

The city is seeking support from Cass County to act as sponsor for the road improvement funding application and the associated project development for construction of Tower Avenue.

Approved resolution in support of Shingobee Township for Local Road Improvement program funding.

Approved payment of $5,187.50 to Shingobee Township for the joint agreement on the Hillsdale Storm water project.

Approved payment of $9,223 to Tyler Technologies for Incode software annual fees

Approved payment of $29,467.16 to the Walker Area Joint Fire Department for the city’s portion of the contract.

Approved payment of $25,174 to League of Minnesota Cities for worker’s compensation coverage premiums

Approved application from Walker Legion to conduct excluded bingo on March 27 and Nov. 20.

Approved third-party administrator drug testing services from Mid Minnesota Drug Testing Inc., for $100 per year for administrative services, lab test fees of $30 and collection fees paid to the clinic.

Decided to send letter for private parties asking to use Walker Fire Hall back to the Walker Area Joint Fire Department.

Discussed adding paper copies of council meeting minutes back into water bills but decided the cost is too high. The city will look at making changes to its web site so it is easier for people to find the minutes.

Amended the 2021 Council Committee appointments with Hansen remaining on the Library Board and Mayor McMurrin as the head of Safety Committee. During the January meeting, Senenfelder questioned why he was taken off as head of that committee, adding that he is the best and most qualified person considering his 35 years of experience in law enforcement that includes contract negotiations and personnel issues.

McMurrin said the reason she changed the assignment is that wants to learn more about the Safety Committee, adding these are only one-year assignments.

Approved Joanne Bloch’s successful sixth-month probationary period and a 3 percent hourly wage increase effective Feb. 18.

Approved sending Police Office Andy Erickson to Defensive Tactics instructor training through the St. Cloud Police Department from May 17-21 at a cost of $795 plus lodging, meals and mileage.

Tabled John Cossette’s request for an airport vendor application until the council gets more information. Cosette has already rented a hangar at the Walker Airport.

Approved Walker Library Board meeting minutes of Dec. 16.

Approved Walker Park Advisory Board meeting minutes of Oct. 27.

Approved park application for Summer Recreation from Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School Community Education for use of upper and lower park from 9 a.m. to noon for June 7-10, June 14-17, July 5-8 and July 12-15 for about 50-60 youth.

Approved park application for local Girl Scouts to hold a Cookie Drive through Feb. 13 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Feb. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. and Feb. 19 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lots.

Dates and times are subject to change due to Scouts’ availability and school sports.

Directed City Administrator Fairchild to work up an advertisement for all city-owned parcels that the city is willing to sell.

The topic came up when Jed Shaw, a real estate business owner, asked the council about purchasing the 144-acre property along the Sautbine Road that he is interested in developing for single-family homes.

The city would need to advertise a sealed bid sale for large tracts of land so all interested parties would have the chance. Those bids would then be opened at a council meeting.

Approved the Vac Trailer valve exerciser agreement.

Approved the purchase of a 2020 John Deere backhoe 310 SL for $100,897.47, minus the $12,000 trade-in of the city’s current backhoe.

Approved First Systems Technology install a flow meter at the Ah-Gwah-Ching sewer lift station for $5,250.

Approved Johnson Jetline annual cleaning of sewer lift stations for $2,000.

Approved First Systems Technology replace water plant meter for $12,250.

Approved purchase of 20 water meter registers and one replacement meter from Fergusson Waterworks for $3,290.

Approved purchase of asset essentials enterprise from Dude Solutions for $5,437.83, three iPads from Verizon and accessories from Amazon for $1,580.74 and data packages for iPads for $119.97 per month.

Denied request from Otto Ringle to add additional lighting to the Circle of Time in front of city hall. There is already a light nearby that shines on the statues.

Approved request not to open the new trailhead rest rooms until spring. With COVID-19 pandemic it makes sense to keep them closed.

Appointed Lois Orton, Kathleen Ostlund and Mary Andrus to the Cemetery Board.

Advised that city offices and DMV will be closed Feb. 15 in honor of President’s Day.

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