Herald Journal - Enterprise Dispatch - Delano Herald Journal
Historical society goes to bat for old village hall
Jan. 31, 2011
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Next phase of renovation to move forward

By Ryan Gueningsman
Managing Editor

DELANO, MN – A number of members of the Delano-Franklin Area Historical Society were present at a city council meeting Jan. 18 to ensure plans kept moving forward for renovation work at Delano’s old village hall.

Last year, the City of Delano obtained concept designs for a phased renovation of the village hall, located at Bridge Avenue and Second Street.

Over last summer, with help from a 50 percent grant from the State of Minnesota, the city completed a reroof of the building and installation of a fire suppression system, according to a memo prepared for the council by City Administrator Phil Kern.

He brought up some of the past uses of the building (fire hall, library), and said the city continues to look at what future uses of the building are, and where it is going long-term.

Historical Society President Jon Steinmetz told the council the building is the first building collectively built by the community, and said it’s a reflection of what the community used to be.

Steinmetz called the building a “diamond in the rough,” and said it will be money well- spent to move forward with the renovation project.

Chris Brazelton of the Delano Dream Team II also spoke to the council, noting that it is better to make the repairs and renovations now, than to face much higher expenses down the road.

She also reminded the council that the building was a high priority of the community visioning session that took place the spring of 2009, and encouraged the council to move forward with the project.

The city has received additional grant funding of about $42,000 for the next phase of the project through the Legacy Amendment. This is to complete the removal of the first floor facade and the installation of a new “storefront” to replicate the historic character of the building, according to Kern’s memo.

The grant was awarded for 100 percent of the anticipated costs, with the city responsible for the change orders or bid amounts that come in above the grant funds.

City staff initially included $30,000 during the 2011 budget process to cover any potential change orders or bid amounts that exceeded the city’s grant funding. Kern said at the meeting, this number is just an amount put in place to cover excess costs, and said it could ultimately be lower or higher, depending on how the project goes.

Timing is also an issue, as the city moves forward with the project, because the grant stipulates the project must be completed no later than June 30 of this year.

In the event additional funding is required, city staff has explored additional options, including from the general fund, or from the city’s fund that is utilizing excess tax increment financing (TIF) dollars. To date, the city has awarded four $5,000 grants, and still has about $130,000 it can utilize.

The council approved the creation of plans and specifications for the next phase of the project, deciding to use excess TIF funds in the event there are any excess costs.

After the meeting, City Clerk Marlene Kittock said this phase of the project will need to be complete by June. She said field measurements will begin to be taken this week, and pricing compiled and presented to the council in the next few weeks.

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