National Loon Center receives council support to pursue $11.9 million in state and federal funding – Pine and Lakes Echo Journal

Betty Q. Hixson

CROSSLAKE — After being assured the city wouldn’t be on the hook, the Crosslake City Council supported the National Loon Center’s pursuit of $11.4 million in state and federal funds.

The council unanimously supported the efforts at its regular meeting Monday, March 14.

John Forney, National Loon Center Foundation president, and Jon Mobeck, loon center executive director, shared how the loon center idea originated and what the center has done so far. Plans include launching a floating classroom this summer, and eventually constructing a building at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Cross Lake Recreation Area.

Mobeck said state Sen. Carrie Ruud, R-Breezy Point, authored a bill in the Senate and state Rep. Dale Lueck, R-Aitkin, in the House to secure nearly $8 million in a state bonding bill for the loon center.

That’s a grant that wouldn’t have to be repaid, he said.

“That’s a significant step toward the realization of that vision,” he said of the loon center.

Through U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith, there’s also the potential to get $3.5 million in congressional directed spending, Mobeck said.

“We’re looking at an $11.4 million opportunity,” he said.

The council approved fire service contracts for 2022-2023 with the city of Manhattan Beach and part of Fairfield Township. The cost of each contract is based on 3.5% of tax capacity for that portion of the city or township Crosslake covers.

Manhattan Beach will pay $13,541 and Fairfield Township will pay $23,045.

The council moved Police Officer Adam Casanova and Sgt. Jake Maier to permanent status after both successfully completed their six-month probations in those positions.

Crosslake police reported 194 incidents in February in Crosslake, including 16 agency assists, 25 emergency medical services calls, four property damage accidents, two suspicious activity reports, three thefts, three traffic arrests, nine traffic citations and 81 traffic warnings.

Police reported 61 incidents in February in Mission Township, including 41 traffic warnings, eight traffic citations, two property damage accidents, one suspicious vehicle and three agency assists.

Firefighters had 26 calls in February, including 21 EMS calls and one motor vehicle accident with injuries.

North Ambulance Crosslake reported 65 callouts in February.

In other business Monday, the council:

  • Heard Mayor Dave Nevin will host a town hall forum at 6 p.m. Thursday, April 21, at Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant and Bar to hear from residents regarding the city’s assessment policy. He invited council members to attend.
  • Had a consensus not to grant a request for a donation to the Crow Wing County Historical Society.
  • Approved two donations: $2,004 from the Parks and Library Foundation for bleachers and $2,000 from Laurel Laborde to the fire department First Responders for supplies.
  • Reappointed Frandsen Bank & Trust as the city’s official depository after receiving four letters from area banks in response to a proposal for city banking services. Three of the four banks would charge monthly service fees. Frandsen Bank & Trust has waived monthly fees as the city’s financial institution over the past many years.

The council sought proposals after Nevin suggested spreading the city’s business to other banks after so many years.

  • Agreed to start work on a city ordinance regarding short-term rental properties in the city. The topic of vacation rentals by owner (VRBOs) has generated ongoing discussion in the city. City Administrator Mike Lyonais, Police Chief Erik Lee, Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller and Public Works Director Ted Strand will start work and report back monthly to the council.
  • Re-established precincts and polling place (Crosslake City Hall) as required after the 2020 census.
  • Agreed to accept cash in lieu of land for the Huss lot split.
  • Approved a construction cost share and maintenance agreement between Crow Wing County and the city for the County State Aid Highway 66 sanitary sewer extension project.

The council also approved the engineering service fee from Bolton & Menk for assessment and construction services for the CSAH 66 sanitary sewer and stormwater improvements for $194,790.

  • Approved an interfund transfer of $8,437 from the General Fund to the Sewer Fund to cover the 2021 Sewer Fund cash deficit.

Crosslake resident Peter Graves addresses the Crosslake City Council on Monday, March 14, 2022, at city hall.

Echo Journal Screenshot

During the first open forum portion of the meeting, resident Peter Graves expressed his anger and frustration at the council’s frequent discussion regarding the ability to fully represent the city when attending meetings remotely.

Council member Dave Schrupp has regularly attended winter meetings online via Zoom from Florida, as he did Monday.

Graves said the COVID-19 pandemic and enhancements in technology improved the ability for people to connect and participate remotely. He reminded the council that more than 60% of the city’s budget revenue comes from seasonal residents who help pay for city services they may not fully benefit from because they aren’t here year-round.

Also during open forum, Crosslake Chamber Director Cindy Myogeto thanked the city and public works department for all they’ve done to prepare for the Saturday, March 19, St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities.

After the regular meeting, the council met in closed session to discuss land negotiations/settlement.

Nancy Vogt, editor, may be reached at 218-855-5877 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook and on Twitter at

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