More City Hall work approved [UPDATED]Published 6:41am Thursday, October 18, 2012 Updated 8:42am Thursday, October 18, 2012
Two more building projects may soon be in Fergus Falls’ future, as discussed Wednesday morning at the city’s public works and safety committee meeting.
The first project is the next phase of ongoing improvements at city hall. The improvements to the building’s east end are concluding, said City Administrator Mark Sievert, with carpeting in city offices recently being installed. The next phase of the project, should the city council approve it, would likely remodel the front lobby.
The remodel of the front lobby would improve the security and workflow of the front office administration area, reconfiguring desk placement and other efficiency areas.
“We’re anticipating that that would be a project we could do over this winter,” said Sievert.
Staff does not know how much the project might cost, but the city has about $51,000 remaining for city hall improvements from an approximately $1 million capital improvement plan bond issued in 2010.
Another, long-range possible improvement could take place in the city council chamber. A remodel in that room would focus on two elements: making the room more handicap accessible (currently, the actual council seating area is only accessible by steps) and updating the technology used in the space. City staff are planning to meet with a consultant to talk about the costs and logistics of including various presentation technology like video, smart boards and more, as well as improving the camera system used by PEG Access TV to broadcast the council meetings. In particular, staff would like to address many complaints they’ve heard about the audio system in the council chambers. The estimated cost of that project has also not been set.
The second project, one that would likely begin work next spring, is the extension of a city water main out to the Fergus Falls Airport. The committee approved the initiation of the project, but it must approve further plans before city staff would take action on the plan.
“This is the extension of the project we’ll be constructing this fall,” said Public Works Director Anne Martens.
The current $400,000 project is extending the city water main from Two Rivers Road to Airport Drive, near the county transfer station. Otter Tail County is splitting the cost with the city, which had been planning the extension in order to eventually reach the airport.
The city wants to reach the airport to provide better fire protection for the site in the form of a fire hydrant and to have the groundwork of water provision laid for the area in case of future development. Future city plans include the possibility of industrial areas in the area near the airport.
The water main project has a preliminary budget projection of $200,000, but Martens said the city may be able to get a state grant that would cover 50 to 70 percent of the expected cost.