City fills new park and rec position

Council also approves major stormwater retrofit on Hilo Lane


Clint Riese
News Editor

For the first time, the city of Forest Lake has a full-time employee to oversee parks, trails and recreation.

The City Council on Monday approved the hiring of Nicole Schossow as park and recreation coordinator. The new position is part of the city’s wide-sweeping staff reorganization that began last year, and it will replace the part-time park director position from which Renae Reedy resigned last month.

Schossow is a member of the Hastings Park Board. She is self-employed as a personal trainer and wellness coach and formerly worked as a camp director and outdoor program specialist for the Girl Scouts of the Sierra Nevada. Schossow has a master’s degree in recreation from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

She emerged from a pool of 53 applicants. Nine were given initial interviews, with four coming back to interview before city staff and the Park Board.

“I think we agree we had four excellent candidates, and she rose to the top for those of us who were there to interview her,” Park Board Member Karen Morehead told the council.

Schossow will begin employment April 28 with a salary in pay grade six, which is $48,921-$61,152.

Stormwater project

The Forest Lake chain of lakes will soon benefit from a grant that will fund water improvement work this summer. The council approved an agreement between the city and the Comfort Lake-Forest Lake Watershed District for a stormwater filtration retrofit project in the Lakeridge Estates addition south of Second Lake.

An existing stormwater detention basin adjacent to Hilo Lane will be excavated for the installation of an iron-enhanced sand filter. The project will also include the stabilization of a stormwater trench upstream of the basin and the restoration of vegetation where lake shoreline has eroded. The work will take place this year.

Combined, these improvements are estimated to produce an annual phosphorous load reduction of nearly 12 pounds. The watershed district’s long-term goal for phosphorus reduction in Forest Lake’s middle basin is 49 pounds.

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency awarded the watershed district a grant of $41,615 for the project. The city will provide $25,000 from its stormwater management fee proceeds. That contribution was included in the 2013 city budget and carried over to this year’s budget.

Other business

The council learned that law enforcement recently conducted a distracted driving enforcement wave in the area through the federal Toward Zero Deaths program.

“It is an issue,” Police Chief Rick Peterson said. “There are a lot of injuries and accidents and even deaths that occur because of distracted driving, so that is one of the issues that the state’s pushing through right now, not only for seat belt use, speeding, drunken driving, but also now distracted driving.”

In other business, the council:

– Approved an intergovernmental agreement regarding water supply that includes Forest Lake among communities in the Washington County Municipal Water Coalition.

– Approved the appointment of John Vogel to the Park Board. He fills the seat created by Jill Hoyt’s resignation.