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Cokato City Council lends a hand at Brooks Lake
May 18, 2018

By Jennifer Von Ohlen
Staff Writer

COKATO, MN – Now that the lakes have opened up, area lake associations are getting back into the rhythm of maintenance and treatment for these popular summer destinations.

Peter Forsman, the newly appointed president of the Books Lake Association, approached the Cokato City Council May 14 requesting approximately $2,500 to help fund the association’s curly-leaf pondweed treatment project.

Curly-leaf is an invasive species known for creating mats of foliage on lake/pond surfaces. These mats can prevent native aquatic plants from getting necessary nutrients, can lower oxygen levels (affecting fish and other lake species), and can also interfere with boating, swimming, fishing and other water activities.

The council has provided the Brooks Lake Association this financial assistance for the past few years, and Council Member Carl Harju noted that the impact is evident.

“Fifteen years ago, you couldn’t swim in there, and now it’s really nice again,” he stated.

While improvement has been made, Forsman said there is still work to be done. Two patches in particular still require treatment.

A specialist the association had out recently said it is important to keep treating the lake until the curly-leaf is gone. From there, the association hopes to reduce treatment to perhaps every other year instead of annual maintenance.

The project costs the association about $5,400 annually, and the council agreed to again provide the requested amount.

Hydrate the ballfield with lake water

In maintaining the ballpark at Veterans Memorial Park, city water has been used to keep the ballfield nice and green.

Believing the amount of water needed far exceeds what is suitable, however, the parks commission has been working with the Brooks Lake Association and the local ball team to determine if there is a way to use lake water without negatively affecting Brooks Lake.

They may have come up with a solution: installing an aeration pump.

This idea was discussed a few years ago, and the Brooks Lake Association applied for grant funding to cover the costs, currently estimated at $15,000. It didn’t receive the grant award, however.

Since funding for this project is not predicted to become available anytime soon, the parks commission suggested having the council purchase the pump. The ball team would help with installation.

The Brooks Lake Association is said to be largely in favor of the pump as it would turn debris over at the bottom of the lake and help maintain the lake’s health.

Harju added that the Department of Natural Resources has already approved the pump and had commented that “this is one of the best things we can do for that lake.”

The pump would also be cost-effective for the city, and would be expected to cover its costs within a few years.

The council approved the pump with a maximum purchase limit of $15,000.

Council Member Butch Amundsen affirmed that drinking water would still be available at the park.

Pool hours change

To better accommodate workers’ schedules, the pool operations manager requested Cokato’s community pool be open an hour later Sundays.

The council approved the request.

Pool hours for the summer:

• Monday through Friday: noon to 8 p.m.

• Saturday: noon to 7 p.m.

• Sunday: 1 to 6 p.m.

Daily admission is $4.

For further details and updates, visit www.cokato.mn.us or the Cokato Community Pool Facebook page.

Odds and ends

In other news, the council:

• accepted Cokato Community Chest’s $1,000 donation to the Cokato Fire Department, and its $1,550 donation to the ambulance service;

• approved a conditional use permit and a lot split on the north side of Field Crest Boulevard (to accommodate the development of two twin homes);

• renewed its property and liability insurance coverage with the League of Minnesota Cities Insurance Trust, and waived its statutory tort liability limits;

• discussed the possibility of creating an off-road vehicle ordinance (ordinances from other cities will be compared during the June meeting);

• hired pool workers for the summer;

• received an update on the Levi Wuollet memorial bench – the bench will be placed at the northwest corner of Peterson Park;

• accepted a slip-lining project bid of $46,580 from Insituform Technologies;

• purchased two aerators and associated equipment at $28,170 for the wastewater treatment plant;

• authorized soliciting bids for the 2018 seal coat project – the fifth year of the city’s five-year rotation; and

• authorized spring concrete repairs and street patching projects.

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