By unanimous vote Tuesday, Dec. 1, Baxter City Council agreed to a land management agreement with the Minnesota Department of Military Affairs, Camp Ripley to collaborate with the land management of 880 acres of open space in southwest of Baxter.
“The intent of (the agreement) is to allow projects where those goals align and therefore there are no pre-established commitments,” said community development director Josh Doty. “The agreement does not specifically outline the specific tasks that are contemplated in this spirit of resource management related to Baxter’s Southwest Lands.”
Under a memorandum of understanding between the two parties, two entities would share a commitment to seek opportunities to work together on projects consistent with shared departmental and city goals. According to the memorandum, both parties must agree on projects and neither entity is obligated to commit funds.
Council member Todd Holman said there aren’t many examples of similar agreements between local municipalities and military installations, citing an example from Camp Blanding in Florida – however, this one is complicated by ongoing disputes over endangered gopher turtle populations, while the agreement between Camp Ripley and Baxter does not appear to have any external factors at this time.
Councilman Zach Tabatt said he appreciates the staff at the town of Baxter and Camp Ripley.
“I just wanted to thank Josh Doty and Josh Pennington and everyone involved in making this deal happen,” Tabatt said. “Just for the work you’ve done, because these things don’t just happen, especially when you’re dealing with entities the size of Camp Ripley and trying to align all of these goals. So thank you for doing this work. I can’t wait to see some positive things come out of it. »
In other cases counsel:
Approve the naming of the new trail on Oakwood Drive from Whipple Beach to Cedar Scenic Road as the “Leech Lake Road” trail. Members also approved the installation of information kiosks and a community entrance bench on the trail. Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, council members had gathered for a business session where they discussed the history of the area that led to the new name for the trail segment. Mayor Darrel Olson said he was fine with the idea, but expressed doubts about naming a small, two-block segment of trail that would likely be known as the “trail on Oakwood Drive” for local residents.
Approved conversion of unused vacation hours deferred benefits for all eligible department heads working for the City of Baxter.
Approved a job description and budgeted for one position for an administrative position for Streets and Utilities and Parks and Trails to assist with day-to-day administrative duties for both departments.
GABRIEL LAGARDE can be reached at [email protected] or 218-855-5859. follow on