The Kettle River Planning and Zoning Commission discussed developing a plan that focuses on tourism at a meeting on Thursday, May 3.
“The Soo Line Trail is a big selling point,” said Todd Lawrence, chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission. “But we need gas for snowmobiles and ATVs in Kettle River. If people need gas now, they have to go to Moose Lake.”
Lawrence showed a letter of commitment that has been received from Federated Co-ops towards installing a tank for non-oxygenated premium fuel for small engines, such as lawnmowers, boat motors and ATVs. The gas would not be suitable for trucks or cars. The tank could be self-serve and gas purchased with a credit card.
However, the larger plan does include a gas station and convenience store, as well as a campground.
“The county encouraged us to put in a gas station,” said Lawrence. “There are two county-owned properties in Kettle River. We can get the property, zone it and sell it. It is meant for development of the city.”
The costs of developing a campground are high.
“The 2008 cost was $950,000,” said Lawrence. “But the first thing that we need is letters of commitment from Federated, Lake Country Power and the Department of Natural Resources.”
The water tower needs to be refurbished inside and out. Lawrence said that there was a $28,000 deficit for the tower and estimates for repairs is $75,000.
“That’s $103,000 that we need for the water tower,” he said. “But there would be no cost to the taxpayers to get the proposal together.”
“We should have a plan together by the end of the year,” said Commissioner Dave Lucas.
“We are just starting out,” added Commissioner Mark Tollgaard. “This is fairly new what we are trying to do here. But we have to have the commitments. The water tower has to get fixed. That is the top priority.”
There was discussion about the location of the proposed campground. The nine-acre site east of the ball field for the campground is in a Wellhead Protection Area.
“We can pave the whole nine acres and then put in dirt and grass,” Lawrence said. “That would satisfy the Minnesota Department of Health.”
Lawrence spoke about other activities that could draw people to the community for recreation: kayaking, cross-country skiing and putt-putt golf were a few ideas.
“The dairies are gone,” he said. “We have to work with what we’ve got.”
“We are trying to get the money to pay for it all,” Tollgaard said.
To help cover the costs in the plan, the commission discussed sponsorships but did not want the details disclosed at this time.
Future meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of each month at noon. The July meeting will be held on July 11. The next meeting was set for Wednesday, June 6, at noon at the city hall/senior citizens center.