Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 10, 2001

Contract to sell old Winsted City Hall nearly set

By Patrice Waldron

Details of the contract between the City of Winsted and Todd and Kelly Colonna are still being finalized, but the sale of the old city hall building is getting closer.

When it was determined that the Colonnas would be unable to attend Tuesday's Winsted City Council meeting, Mayor Don Guggemos, City Attorney Fran Eggert, City Administrator Brent Mareck, and Todd Colonna met to discuss the final terms of the sale.

This has been a process of adding things in, and taking other items out, explained Eggert.

In order to keep the appearance of the historical building as close to the original as possible, renovation guidelines are being fine-tuned to satisfy the needs of both the city and the Colonnas.

The items which deal with the interior of the building were revised, and are less stringent in the final agreement, because the building's exterior was felt to be of primary importance to the members of the Winsted Preservation Society.

Exterior changes, such as adding a door to the back of the building would be acceptable, but the look of the building face and outward facing side would remain similar to its current appearance.

Charlie Nelson, an authority on building renovations with the Minnesota Historical Society, has been an advisor to the Winsted Preservation Society and matters dealing with the old city hall building.

His name was removed from the final contract to allow any person acting in that position to participate as an advisor.

In order to protect the city's interest in the property, and due to the $1 purchase price, the contract contains the stipulation that if the building is destroyed (by natural disaster or otherwise), the city will have a guarantee on the ownership of the lot for a period of three years after the sale.

After three years, if something were to happen to the building, the lot would be appraised, and either party could buy it for half the value.

The Colonnas would have the option to buy the property from the city, and if the Colonnas didn't want to keep the property, the city would have the option to buy back the property before it was offered to anyone else.

The city will pay for the survey of the lot, allowing the Colonnas to have enough land to have parking and a deck off the back of the building.

Guggemos pointed out that the property is not being sold all the way to the lake. The occupants of the building will have lake access, but the road going through that area will remain much as it is now.

The Colonnas were also advised of the need to comply with the requirements for land in a shoreland overlay district.

This agreement was approved by the city council, with the stipulation that the city be given the right of first refusal if the property were to be sold.

Once the final draft is completed by Eggert, it will be faxed to Colonna's attorney. It is anticipated that Colonna will sign the contract.

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