The Oak Park City Council tabled a request from the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing to contribute $3,000 out of city funds to “help keep the (bridge) project on schedule.”
There are a few different options to fund the request, if the council so chooses, City Administrator Eric Johnson said.
"I just don't want to go down the path Stillwater did that got them into trouble a while back," Council Member Mark Swenson said. "I would like staff and legal to look at it and give us an official recommendation. I support this, but I would like them to tell me we have the authority to support it."
The council will take up the request later this month.
The Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing on Tuesday will ask the Oak Park City Council to contribute $3,000 from city coffers to “help keep the (bridge) project on schedule.”
“While we remain optimistic construction can begin, opposition still hopes for delays, as in the past when we have repeatedly seen efforts to replace the old lift bridge get stopped at the last minute,” a letter from Coalition Co-Chair and Stillwater Mayor Ken Harycki to the Oak Park Heights City Council reads. “Stopping things now would increase both costs and the chances the project never occurs.”
Stillwater , while Washington County .
Oak Park Heights Mayor Mary McComber and City Council Member Chuck Dougherty are both members of the Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing.
In order for the coalition to be successful, the letter says, it is important to raise “half its budget from the public sector, equally between Minnesota and Wisconsin.”
Since forming two years ago, the Coalition has reportedly raised and spent about $300,000, Minnesota Public Radio reported last month.
The Coalition’s Director Larry Dowell, told MPR that 85 percent of that funding came from individuals or businesses, and the rest from the public sector.
“Despite the high profile work of the coalition,” MPR’s report reads, “it is difficult to find out who its members and contributors are. Dowell would not release a list of the coalition's 82 donors and members.”
The Coalition describes itself as a group of business, labor, government and community leaders from Minnesota and Wisconsin who support building a new bridge that balances community needs and benefits the entire region.
RELATED: Stillwater City Council Gives $10K to Coalition for St. Croix River Crossing
Washington County Board Gives $15K to Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing
Stillwater City Council Approves $15K for Lobbyists Last-Minute Push to Pass St. Croix River Crossing
Washington County to Partner With Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing
Stillwater River Crossing Supporters to Launch Advocacy Coalition
Making the Case for the St. Croix River Crossing
Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing Receives Public Policy Achievement Award
Ripple in Stillwater: Coalition 'Muddies the St. Croix Waters with More Misinformation'
St. Croix River Crossing: 'We'll Just Have to Agree to Disagree'
Coalition for the St. Croix River Crossing to Give $80K Donation Back to Stillwater
St. Croix County has also contributed $20,000 to the Coalition.
According to the Jan. 10 Stillwater Township Board minutes, the Coalition asked the township for a $1,000 contribution, but the Board’s consensus was to “respectfully decline as we do not see a clear community benefit.”
A discussion about the contribution is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday during the City Council meeting at Oak Park Heights City Hall.
Click here to see the full agenda.