At all four corners of Mille Lacs Lake, outdoor recreation is a focal point of local business. At the regular Wahkon City Council meeting held Monday, June 10, the council discussed how some more local land may be put to that recreational use. Local business owner Steve Dubbs approached the council on behalf of a community effort to work with the DNR to put school trust fund land near the city to recreational use.
Trust fund land
Dubbs came before the council asking them to submit a letter of approval for the future development of school trust fund land located just southeast of Wahkon. The possibility of using this land as part of an expansion of local
snowmobiling trails was being explored. Dubbs cited a number of local businesses and organizations who had also given their support, including the Friends of the Soo Line, the Friends of Father Hennepin, the Isle Chamber of Commerce, the Wahkon Inn, Morning Star Market, Muggs of Mille Lacs, Beachside Resort and The Mille Lacs Drift Skippers Snowmobile Club. Dubbs added that state representative Sondra Erickson had also given a letter of her support.
Dubbs explained to the council that there had been a few years of on-going discussion of what to do with the land. At 440 acres, this parcel was the largest piece of publicly-owned land between Isle and Hillman. The land ran contiguous with the Soo Line Trail for about a mile. It’s use was guide by the county’s Parks and Trail Plan, and the proposed recreational use would fall within bounds of that plan. Development off the property would be done in conjunction with the state DNR, who begun looking at publicly-owned in Mille Lacs County to potentially develop around last year.
At this point, Dubbs said, the project was largely conceptual. He presented the council with a route a hypothetical snowmobile trail. If the council gave their support, the next step would be holding a public hearing on the property.
The council briefly discussed potential usage of the land. The question was raised whether the land could also be used for an ATV. Council member Rhonda Bjornson stated that she believed the land would be too wet to do so.
All council members voiced support of signing Dubbs’ letter. A meeting with Tim Edgeton, representing the DNR, would be held the morning of June 17, after this edition of the Messenger went to press.
The council overviewed two bids for blacktopping work within the city. These bids included a $57, 685 offer from Anderson Brothers and $49,155 from North Central Paving.
When asked for his opinion on the bids, maintenance supervisor Chris Weinreich said that he thought North Central Paving was more familiar with working Wahkon’s streets. However, he added that for the size of the project, Anderson Brothers would be better equipped to provide the needed service. He also expressed reservations about North Central Paving completing the project in a timely manner.
Included in the Anderson Brothers quote was a $20,000 mobilization fee. Council member Tony Button questioned whether that number was accurate. He agreed that Anderson Brothers would be providing better quality work and proposed asking if the fee could be cut in half. If Anderson Brothers would agree to lowering the fee by half or more, Button moved that the city go with them. Otherwise, they would go with North Central Paving. The council unanimously voted in favor of Button’s proposal.
Plow truck update
The council returned to the discussion of purchasing a replacement for the city’s 1995 plow truck. In May, the council had sent a letter of intent to purchase a truck in Taylors Falls.
A quote for the Taylors Falls truck came to $49,5000. City clerk Karrie Roeschlein noted that the truck would be an investment for future employees of the city and was capable of doing far more in a single swoop than the city’s current 1995 truck. Button added that truck’s value could be around $140,000.
After some discussion, the council voted in favor of approving the purchase of the new truck.
• The council approved a resolution to allow charitable gambling within the city, to accommodate the Isle Lions setting up pull tabs at Wahkon Inn.