By Kristen Miller
COKATO, MN During Monday’s meeting, the Cokato City Council was presented with final plans of the proposed expansion of the library/museum, including one option that would include city offices.
However, no decisions were made other than to determine the cost of a grant writer for possible future funding.
Council Member Butch Amundsen made it clear that the city’s number-one priority was a public safety building, though he did say he liked the option with the council chambers.
Gayle Mack, the project manager from Short Elliot Hendrickson (SEH) Inc., presented final numbers for the two options.
It was noted that both options included an additional 3,674 square feet on the lower level as part of the museum expansion. This would include additional storage, genealogy workroom, and office. This addition would therefore allow for an expanded display area.
The first option includes the expansion of the library with the addition of the city offices and council chamber, for a total square footage of 10,245. This is an additional 5,444 square feet over the existing 4,801 that is the library and community room.
The total estimated cost for option one is $2,192,179, or $117 per square foot.
It was noted, this cost does not include furnishings, fixtures, and equipment.
The second option does not include city offices, but would include a community room, would add 4,204 square feet to the current building, for a total cost of $1,983,573.
The difference between the two options is $208,606.
Librarian Sheila Rieke told the council she would like to begin the grant application process, but would need the city’s assistance.
Rieke informed the council of a USDA grant for library construction that would provide 15 percent of construction costs if awarded.
This grant could also be used along with other grants and the city would have five years to use the funding.
Mack also informed the council of a 50 percent matching grant offered by the state every two years. This year, this grant opportunity was cut from the state’s budget, but could potentially be brought back in another two years.
All-in-all, the expansion project could receive up to 65 percent of outside money.
Council Member Carl Harju agreed with Amundsen that there are other priorities including the public safety building, but thought it was a good idea to see what type of grants are available.
To begin the process for grant applications, the council instructed city staff to construct a request for proposal for a grant writer by the July meeting and see how much it would cost.
Council Member Wayne Murphy suggested a public forum be scheduled to gather input from the public about the two options presented to the council Monday night.
Amundsen suggested this wait until a request for proposal is done to determine if the city will continue with grant applications.