Akerlund Studio work is underway in Cokato

April 21, 2008

By Lynda Jensen

Renovation work on the Gust Akerlund Studio foundation is underway, as noted at the Cokato City Council meeting last Monday.

Work began Wednesday, and will include the front half of the building put up on jacks facing Broadway. The whole building will not be jacked up, however, said Museum Director Mike Worcester.

Before the bracing, some initial work is necessary such as disconnecting the ventilation ducting in the crawl space.

The best case scenario is that the work can be done in one month’s time, Worcester noted.

Part of the venting cost was a surprise budget wise, but Worcester hopes it will be small in nature. Council Member Butch Amundsen expressed concern about the extra cost, and that the bid was too low.

Amundsen wanted to know if more surprises would come.

Worcester built in a personal visit from each bidder into the bidding process, and made extra precautions to make sure that bidders knew what they were walking into.

This work is being paid for with a matching grant by the state.

Turning to other subjects, the council discussed the annual appliance disposal day, Saturday, May 17.

Amundsen pointed out that residents could bring their used TVs to Buffalo for free earlier than this, Tuesday, April 22 from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Wright County Recycling Center in Buffalo.

In other subjects, the council heard from landlord Cindy Luhman about the recent cutoff of a long-time utility credit given to small apartment buildings in Cokato, as part of Cokato’s attempt to manage its utility budget.

She objected to the lack of notice, since leases are on a yearly basis, and this gives her little time to adjust her rates.

There are about 19 small apartments in Cokato that fall under the “small” criteria (four or less).

Odds and ends

In other subjects, the council:

• adopted a plan for the water woes at Klarysn, contingent on the blessing of homeowners Bruce and Lee Peterson. It affects the southeast portion of their property near Sucker Creek. A mutually agreed upon site was selected and surveyed.

Engineer Eric Lembke noted that there are 110 trees on the property, and that moving some of them will cost more, but the Petersons want to preserve them.

Council Member Wayne Murphy voted against the arrangement, since he said that the water should have been covered by a developer’s agreement with a private landowner, and was the shortsight of a previous council.

• switched computer consultants from Paul Scivetti to Moonen, Intercomm Technology, as recommended by Scivetti, who is busy doing other things.

Moonen will replace the existing server, reconfigure the network, and make an on-site backup for $2,750, with a $250 per month charge for support.

• noted that Bridge L9584 on Seventh Street received a clean bill of health from Wright County, and needs no maintenance at this time. It is the only bridge that affects the City of Cokato.

• tabled the subject of replacing the west sanitary lift station located on the western edge of town. Amundsen noted that the council needs to figure out budget matters before proceeding with the project.

• talked about doing road work on Seventh Street from Broadway to Lee Avenue (watermain loop and full street reconstruct), along with work from Lee Avenue to Eshton Court (new sanitary sewer, street mill and overlay, as well as a possible sidewalk).

The possible sidewalk on Seventh Street from Lee to Eshton would shorten the width of the road from 40 to 32 feet.

To do mill and overlay on that project would cost about $152,000, which doesn’t take into account other factors.

The council discussed the idea, but made no decisions.

• renewed the agreement with Stipes Shows for the Corn Carnival in August.

• decided to set a special meeting Monday, May 12 to discuss hazardous property owned by Tom Enger of Florida, located at 250-290 Millard Avenue.

The property in question has four years of delinquent taxes as well as unpaid utility bills. A special meeting will be needed to officially declare it hazardous.

• noted that planning and zoning will review the renters’ ordinance previously discussed.

• pulled the bill from Metro Fire for $858, which was for the water curtain provided to protect the Morris’ garage during the controlled burn.

• set the wage for the ambulance service to be $2 above minimum wage.

• set a capital improvement plan for 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 29

Gust Akerlund Studio closed for work

Long-planned renovation work on the foundation of the Gust Akerlund Photography Studio began Wednesday. The studio will be closed to the public until work completion. While there is no definite timetable attached to this construction, it is hoped to have primary work finished by Memorial Day. The community’s patience is appreciated during this time.

For more information, please contact the museum at (320) 286-2427 or cokatomuseum@cmgate.com.

Do you know more about this subject, or have a comment? E-mail news@hjpub.com