Linwood approves up to $106,000 for park

Sufficient reserves in park development fund

 

Alice Pickering
Linwood Reporter

The park in the Boettcher Farms development is due for improvements.

Park Board Chair Mike Pederson on April 23 updated the Linwood Town Board about such plans. Work had been suspended through the recent economic downturn, and the timeline for improvements was being questioned.

A survey of residents concerning desired park features showed overwhelming support for a park that “everyone could use.” Specific requests were made to include innovative equipment found in European parks.

The current plan includes a pavilion and grill area. There will be some apparatus for children, but it will “not be a standard tot lot,” Pederson said.

Pederson had brochures that showed an example of adult-use exercise equipment, also appropriate for older adults, which will be incorporated into the park.  It consists of a series of workout stations which can be used like a circuit system. Equipment can be used to help improve strength and flexibility.

Wyoming-based Xccent offered ideas for the equipment and will be the source for some of the conceptually newer equipment. The company has offered the township equipment one step up from some of the basic equipment for half price. Pederson said Xccent views this as a showcase of what it can offer.

Supervisor Mike Halliday explained that funds for the equipment purchase will come from the park development fund. Developers contribute into this fund for each lot developed. With sufficient land dedicated to parks, recent contributions have been for new park development.

This is the last large chunk of parkland in the township to be developed. It will be accessible to everyone, meeting Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The final price of the pavilion and walkways is unknown, but the township will seek bids for these.

The Park Development Fund currently has a balance of about $106,363. The board unanimously approved up to $106,000 to purchase the equipment and complete other aspects of the park.

Employee’s Request

A township employee has asked to be paid for raises he said he is entitled to but has not received.

Rudi McCurdy has worked for Linwood Township part time, first as a van driver, then in the capacity of part-time office staff, since about 1998. This translates into 20 hours per week, McCurdy said.

At the town board meeting Jan. 22, the board approved longevity increases in wages for township employees. This was the first raise in three years. However, there were no cost-of-living increases.

According to the township’s employee handbook, “all employees are eligible for base wage (longevity) increases” and “the town clerk shall accumulate the information necessary to calculate wage adjustments and shall calculate each employee’s new wage prior to the budget meeting each year. This information shall be tabulated and presented to the Town Board at least one day prior to the above meeting and the re-organizational meeting.”

Like other employees, McCurdy has received cost-of-living increases as well as other occasional increases. When cost-of-living increases are given, they are combined with the longevity increases. Longevity increases are 0.75 percent for employees of six months to one year, 1.5 percent for those of 1-2 years, 1 percent for those of 3-5 years, 0.5 percent for those of 6-7 years, and 0.25 percent for those of eight years or more.

McCurdy said he has never received a longevity raise. He recently made an official written request for these cumulative increases. Having heard from only one member of the board, he repeated his request at the board meeting last Tuesday. Without some action from the board in the near future, he said his recourse is to file a complaint with the Office of the State Auditor.

There are no known similar requests from other employees.

Water Issues

John Murphy, president of the Linwood Lake Improvement Association, spoke in support of any action the township takes to improve water quality in Linwood Lake. He summarized a position statement developed by the residents that seeks to improve the quality of the lake water.

In particular, Murphy is seeking support of enforcement mechanisms for septic system compliance. Supervisor Ed Kramer said there is a transition for the township to take over inspection of septic systems in Linwood from Anoka County. The paperwork and hearings are in process. This would make the compliance mechanism local and reduce permit inspection fees from $700 to $300. Some of this is related to licensing, Kramer said.

Murphy was also invited to the May 2 Sunrise River Watershed Management Organization meeting at the East Bethel town hall.

Other Business

Supervisor Carol Searing told the board that the township must take over the irrigation system for Linwood Cemetery. Maintenance for this, including winterizing the system, needs to be completed annually.  Two new faucets are needed as well.

Supervisor Phil Osterhus said the site can be included in the maintenance circuit for the irrigation systems in the fall.

In other business, the board,

• announced the Road and Bridge Committee road review is scheduled for 8 a.m., Saturday, May 11

• reminded residents of the pet clinic scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, May 4, at the old fire hall

• re-scheduled the annual park tour for 6 p.m. Monday, May 13

• continued discussion about communication in the township and the 6 p.m. town board meeting time

• unanimously approved the re-appointments of Joe Dolphy, Tom Searing and Steven Strandlund to the Linwood Planning and Zoning Commission.

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