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Herald Journal | DC Enterprise-Dispatch | Delano Herald Journal
Wright Co. Board divided on $18.5 million public works building proposal
Aug. 11, 2014

By Ivan Raconteur
Herald Journal Editor

BUFFALO, MN – The Wright County public works facility has grown since the maintenance garage was built in 1975, as have the needs of the departments that use the facility.

The county recently contracted with HCM Architects to develop a concept plan for a new facility, with input from the highway, parks, and surveyor departments, which are housed at the facility.

During Tuesday’s meeting, the Wright County Board reviewed a recommendation from the July 21 transportation committee of the whole meeting to move forward with the next step and prepare a request for proposals (RFP) to get prices for the design/construction management fees for the public works facility improvements, which include a new building and re-purposing the current facility at the current site.

Commissioner Pat Sawatzke said he can’t support a RFP for the project due to concerns about the estimated $18.5 million cost of the improvements.

Sawatzke specifically objected to the estimated $7.5 million for a warm storage facility that is included in the proposal. He said he doesn’t know why all the county equipment needs to be stored in a heated facility.

Sawatzke said the county already owns the largest storage shed in the county a few miles north of the public works facility.

Commissioner Charlie Borrell said he understands the need for a new shop, but suggested the project could be done in phases, such as building a new shop now, and adding storage in the future.

The board approved the recommendations from the committee, including moving forward with an RFP for the public works facility improvements, on a 4-1 vote, with Borrell, Board Chair Christine Husom, and commissioners Michael Potter and Mark Daleiden in favor, and Sawatzke opposed.

Other recommendations from the committee included in the approval are:

• taking steps to repair damage caused by erosion along County Road 75 in the Clearwater Watershed District.

• researching what other nearby counties have implemented local option sales tax and/or wheelage tax for transportation funding.

• working with the Wright Soil & Water Conservation District, Cokato Township, and interested parties to determine if establishing a retention basin to address erosion issues along 28th Street Southwest would be acceptable, and work with all parties to address the erosion and flooding problems in that area.

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