Anoka looking to rent out slips on the Rum River

Anoka is pursuing the idea of renting out slips at a city-owned dock on the Rum River. This would allow people who don’t live on the river to lease space where they could dock a boat all summer long.

The Anoka City Council discussed the idea at a work session March 19.

Now city staff are putting together a proposal and policy, first to be reviewed by the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board and then the council.

The slips would be located on a city dock near the Second Avenue boat launch, said Public Services Director Greg Lee. Right now, it has yet to be determined whether they would be located north, or south, of the launch.

“The docks would need to be in a place where people can park,” said Councilmember Jeff Weaver during the work session discussion when the council considered a number of locations for the slips.

Mayor Phil Rice received an e-mail from residents of RiversPointe Townhomes, concerned about potential noise and the smell of cigarette smoke, both of which he said are valid concerns.

Rice, who lives on the river, said his family is occasionally bothered by noise from late-night boaters.

The council said the hours for use of the leased slips would be consistent with the city’s parks.

According to Lee, staff are hoping to be able to reuse materials for the new slips from the city hall dock, which was replaced last summer.

Providing slip space for boat owners fits with the council’s priorities, said Lee.

“Back in the fall the city council met with the park board to talk about having more recreational opportunities on the river and providing revenue for our park system,” he said. “This really fits well with both of those.”

Right now, staff are working on a policy that would be similar to how the city rents out plots in its community garden. They are available first come, first served. “Once you have a plot, it’s yours to rent until you give it up,” said Lee.

Slip rental would be for the entire boating season.

The city is planning for six slips because that is the maximum that can be made available without requiring a special permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, said Lee.

Staff are also contacting other cities that rent dock space to come up with a price for the summer rentals.

The park board is expected to review the proposal in April, followed by the council its May 7 meeting.

Lee said staff would hope to install the dock system soon after receiving approval from the council.

Typically, city docks go in before the mid-May Minnesota fishing opener.

But given this year’s early spring, that has been moved up over a month, said Lee. “We’re shooting for early next month (April),” he said.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]