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City firming up MNGL timeline

The Red Wing City Council will gather more information from citizens while moving ahead with a plan to determine the fate of Mississippi National Golf Links.

Council members decided Monday to add a citizen survey alongside a MNGL request for proposals process.

One option suggested by city staff was waiting to do the survey until proposals were submitted so the questions could be tailored to specific details.

But Council president Lisa Bayley said the council seems to be looking for more general information, such as citizens' levels of spending comfort for MNGL.

"What I don't think we should do is abdicate our responsibilities to make tough decisions here," Bayley added.

Council member Peggy Rehder said the extra citizen input is needed.

"I think we have to make the decision, but I think there's been far too much in assumptions about what the community thinks," she said.

Staff said the survey could add some uncertainty to the RFP process.

But Council member Jason Sebion said the litigation surrounding MNGL - which could be up in the air as late as early next year - is a bigger issue.

"I think that's going to impact the RFPs more than a survey ever will," he said.

The council decided that the citizen survey would not push back the timeline for a decision on MNGL but rather could run parallel with the originally proposed schedule. That plan had the city releasing the RFP in mid-August and nearing the end of the process by October.

Consulting firm Springsted, which is working on the RFP project, is ready to move forward with the schedule, including providing a draft of the RFP by Aug. 1, Planning Director Brian Peterson said.

Springsted also would handle the survey.

Staff likely will add in a set of questions usually asked during citizen surveys and used for benchmarks along with a handful of questions about the golf course.

Council member Ralph Rauterkus said the city should aim to get survey results in early September, before proposals are due.

The council discussed the RFP issue and other MNGL topics at a workshop last week but need to take official action at a meeting.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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