Letter to the Editor:

Front page news is that the Eagle River City Council is frustrated with the task of repairing the only road into the two schools that educate the majority of local students. 

Mr. (Jerry) Burkett seems to favor abandonment on the basis of a $1 million cost and the rest of the brain trust comes up with the options of doing nothing, turning it into a gravel road or developing the easement from McKinley Boulevard.

Just to see what all the hubbub was about, I took a spin on Pleasure Island Road. It turns out that the council is having trouble with two sections of roadway, each about 2,000 feet in length, for a total of 0.4 mile.

• Option 1, abandonment. This would solve nothing, except to demonstrate a complete disdain of the top-notch educational facilities built on the approved countywide funding referenda over the years to provide the best opportunities available to local students.

• Option 2, do nothing. Great. Kick the can down the road and let some other city council deal with it. 

• Option 3, install a gravel road. I’m sure the patrons of the former Augusta of the North would appreciate the dusting along the 12th, 13th and 14th holes. Also, the city would have to keep the road watered to comply with PM10 emissions required by federal air quality laws.

• Option 4, McKinley ease­ment access. As Mr. Burkett irresponsibly said, “They can come off McKinley.” Nice.

A few facts should awaken his frustration:

1. The section of McKinley Boulevard from Highway 45 to the hill on the 18th hole is a disgrace to begin with and would need to be addressed. That distance is about 0.6 mile, more than the Pleasure Island Road repairs of about 3,100 feet. I have no idea how the council allows such a horrible piece of pavement to exist as the entrance to the crown jewel of Eagle River’s properties. Oh, the clay, oh, the clay — rubbish. A graduate civil engineer could properly design it in about a half-hour.

2. Access to the school through the easement would require another 2,000 feet of new road construction that would impinge on the school fields in that area as well as heavily impact the two town of Lincoln property owners on either side.

3. The easement was granted to the city by the town of Lincoln only for access to the baseball fields to allow the elderly to attend the games without having to walk from the parking lot. There is a sign on the gate as a testament to this and after a petition was entered by town property owners to ensure this sole purpose. It was not to provide two-lane road access to the school properties or to provide access to undeveloped property along the golf course.

4. The increased heavy traffic would quickly degrade the existing town roadway and would present several safety issues to the residents. McKinley Boulevard is a favored walkway, and pedestrians and bicyclists would be put in danger. Additionally, since it also is a snowmobile and ATV throughway, the traffic would be onerous.

5. As far as trying to use McKinley Boulevard as school access by the city, I say bring it. At that point, I see the folks along McKinley digging a 5-foot ditch and installing a 10-foot berm at the city limit. 

The council cannot throw their inability to fund to fix 2,000 feet of neglected street at the feet of the town of Lincoln. 

Mr Burkett, Mr. Hyslop and the rest need to respect their neighbors, forget annexation and understand the established city limits of Eagle River proper.

Richard Jaeger

Town of Lincoln