Isanti moves forward with wakeboard park

By Elizabeth Sias

A wakeboard park is one step closer to coming to Isanti.

At the meeting Tuesday, March 20, city council members approved a management agreement and operating policy between the city and Vision Wake Parks—doing business as 10K Wakes—for construction and operation of a cable wakeboard facility within Bluebird Park.

At the previous meeting, questions were raised as to how this may affect the city’s exempt tax status for the park area, given the city would be contract with a private for-profit business to locate a recreational facility within a public park.

To come up with an estimate on taxes, city staff worked with the county assessor, who contacted the Department of Revenue to determine the classification for the use of the property. Ultimately, the assessor was told the property would need to be split from the remaining park parcel and the land for the wakeboard park would be classified as commercial.

Unity Field Maintenance

Council members voted in favor of waiving the Unity Field usage fee for the Cambridge-Isanti Competitive Baseball Association (CICB), provided the group assumes some financial responsibility and provide labor toward maintenance of the field.

Rental cost for the field is $15 per day. If CICB were to use the field for 92 days April through July, they would owe Isanti $1,380.

That fee will be waived, and in exchange CICB will pay for repairs to the bleachers and dugout areas, as well as pay half the cost of the agricultural lime, or aglime. The city will pay the other half for the aglime, as well as the replacement of light bulbs at the field.

Estimated cost of aglime for the field is $1,600. Bleacher repair and painting is estimated at $472, and repair for the dugout area benches is $236. Light bulb replacement and adjustment is estimated at $240.

The group will also purchase a portable pitching mound, which CICB stated range from $2,000 to $3,500.

Spirit River Community Church

Council members voted to allow a 60-day extension on 2011 property taxes by Spirit River Community Church.

Herb Knutson, owner of The Place to Be Eatery & Pub, and Spirit River Community Church Pastor Jim Crecelius, were present at the meeting to address the topic. The Place to Be is located on the west side of the Spirit River Community Church building. Knutson also runs Spectacular Events catering, which hosts several events located inside the Spirit River Community Center.

According to Crecelius, he was unaware of a letter mailed to the community center instead of their P.O. box, and he only became aware of the issue recently.

Knutson said he needs the extension so he can retain his liquor license, which otherwise may be revoked or not be renewed because of delinquent taxes.

According to the city code, “The council, in its discretion, shall have the right to refuse to issue or renew a license for intoxicating liquor on any premises on which taxes, assessments other financial claims to the city are delinquent or unpaid. Delinquent or unpaid taxes, assessments or other financial claims to the city on the premises for which the license has been issued shall be grounds for the revocation of an intoxicating liquor license.”

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer said he and the council would allow the extension because the business is new. Knutson purchased the property after July 1 of last year.

“We have denied liquor licenses and other things following our policy of not issuing these to people who have back taxes or fees to the city,” Wimmer said. “The issue here is it’s a little bit different of an animal. Obviously you’re probably not too used to paying property taxes…We want to treat everyone fairly.”

The final payment is scheduled for May 15.

“It’s not an existing business that stopped paying their taxes,” Wimmer said. “They have every intention of having this paid by the 15th.”

In other action, the council:

  • Accepted $845 in donations for the design, manufacturing and installation of a Historic Downtown directional sign.
  • Approved an amendment to the city code regarding absences for advisory board members on the Planning Commission and Parks and Rec Board. The code was amended so that it limits the total number of absences permitted, both excused and unexcused, to three in a 12-month period. Absences from more than three meetings constitutes a vacancy, in which case the City Council would appoint someone to complete the term. In the previous language, an excused absences did not count toward the three allowed.
  • Voted to eliminate a section in a zoning ordinance that had allowed interim use of industrial park districts as residential living quarters.
  • Approved an ordinance amending the city code chapter on water.