Herald JournalHerald Journal, June 16, 2003

LP continues with city hall remodeling project

By Julie Yurek

In a divided decision, the Lester Prairie City Council approved forging ahead with plans to remodel city hall.

Council members Rollie Bruckschen and Larry Hoof voted against the motion last Monday night.

The pair's main issue with the remodeling is where local organizations will go for their meetings and events.

"At the first of the year we were talking about a community center; now we're talking about taking away space," Hoof said.

Bruckschen wanted to wait until the Lester Prairie School District decides what it is doing in terms of remodeling or expanding.

Police Chief Bob Carlson, who on the direction of the council has been gathering quotes and a preliminary layout of the remodeling project, and talking with Realtor Art Mallak about the sale of the police department building, has received three bids for the remodeling of city hall.

The three bids are from Whayne Goodell of Lester Prairie for $22,988, Earl Heldt of Lester Prairie for $21,388, and Jerome Herrmann of Lester Prairie for $19,000.

City Clerk Marilyn Pawelk suggested Carlson obtain more bids. EDS Consultants and Construction Managers designed a floor plan for the remodeled city hall (see diagram).

The floor plan calls for the police department to occupy the northeast room and have a roll-up window/counter for the public. The city clerk office would also have a counter with a roll-up window.

The south room where city council meetings are conducted would become two 10 feet by 12 feet filing rooms and one 12-by-12 office space.

However, one deciding factor in the proposed project is the selling of the police department building.

There are two parties interested in purchasing it, Carlson said.

Anyone who buys that building may be able to get in on the small cities grant, said Mayor Eric Angvall. The city isn't allowed to take part of the program, he said.

Along the same lines, the council again discussed whether or not to charge organizations to use the city hall, and if so, how much?

The main issue was how to charge and how much. Should the fee be per meeting or per month? Should it be $1 or $25?

To make it fair, it should to charge per meeting, Hoof said.

"But then the question of how much comes up," Pawelk said.

Some organizations use the building once a week and others only once per month or year, she said.

Only charging the groups $1 per meeting is more hassle than what it's worth, Pawelk said. "But charging $25 per meeting is too much for those that meet every week."

With so many questions and not enough answers, the council decided to drop the issue at this time.

Engineer chosen for water/sewer project

The council approved going forward with the city's portion of getting water and sewer to the Lenny and Linda Juncewski development east of the city.

The water will come from the water tower and the sewer line will come via the waste water treatment plant.

The council also decided on an engineer firm to complete the water and sewer work. The city chose Short Elliott Hendrickson (SEH). SEH's proposal was $47,164. A proposal from Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik, and Associate came in at $53,670.

The council also approved to go ahead with plans and specifications and get a feasibility report.

The next item the city and the Juncewskis must work on is a developer's agreement.

Property owner Cecil Martin addressed the council while it was discussing the Juncewski housing development. Martin told the council that he owns property south of Highway 7 across from Country Treasures and a hotel and a few other businesses are interested in building there, he said.

Martin wanted the council to be aware of this so a large enough pipe size is used to get water and sewer to Juncewski's property and maybe his property someday, he said.

Pawelk informed Martin that his property wouldn't qualify for city services unless it was annexed into the city, she said.

Martin just wanted the council to be aware of his possible plans for the future.

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