Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Feb. 7, 2000

Winsted's old city hall to be demolished

By Luis Puga

Winsted City Council decided Tuesday to demolish the old city hall building rather than refurbish it for new offices and a library.

Council members had discussed the matter for some months and had determined that refurbishing, which was only somewhat cheaper than building new, was too costly. This was due to still having to contend with a 100-year-old building rather than a new complex.

Also, the council felt that location of the old building would be the best location for the new city hall and library.

The old city hall is also costing the city an estimated $5,000 a year in heat and insurance.

Council members also noted that the push to keep the building has been mitigated by the cost of refurbishing, estimated at more than $1 million. Phone calls to the council members have indicated that most citizens would rather see the building come down.

City Administrator Aaron Reeves said that the decision was not an easy one.

Council Member Jeff Albers said, "I hope we have the courage to stand by (this decision)."

Mayor Floyd Sneer replied, "We'll have to."

The council passed a motion to put the demolition out for bids.

School task force decision

News of a pending announcement in site selection for the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District brought about discussion at the council's meeting.

While no certain information had been given to the members, Reeves felt that the site chosen would be in Victor Township between Winsted and Howard Lake on Wright County Road 6.

It was said that the decision might have been the only politically digestible one, noting that proponents of a Howard Lake site simply had more votes.

This prompted some council members to question how and if the city could extricate itself from the school district.

Reeves said that the process requires that the city look into joining an existing district.

It should be noted that no action or investigation was suggested by the council from that discussion.

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