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Council approves Willmar, Minn., airport land release accord

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news Willmar, 56201
West Central Tribune
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Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

WILLMAR -- A memorandum of understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration that establishes three milestones for the phased release of the old airport property to the city has been approved by the Willmar City Council.

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The memorandum was discussed and received the recommendation of the Community Development Committee last week.

The council unanimously approved the memorandum without discussion Monday night and authorized Mayor Frank Yanish and City Administrator Charlene Stevens to sign it.

In an interview following the 48-minute council meeting, Yanish said he is pleased to have the agreement approved after several years of negotiation with the FAA. The memorandum spells out responsibilities that the city must undertake in order for FAA to release the old airport property, which the city is developing for industrial uses.

"I'm ecstatic about it because I think at the end of the year, or in January for sure, we should have the first phase of the land release,'' Yanish said.

Yanish said City Attorney Rich Ronning has reviewed the agreement.

Yanish restated that the city is "closer than we've ever been'' in getting the land released. "That's a good thing,'' he said.

Yanish said he was not surprised by the lack of council discussion Monday evening because the discussion took place at the committee meeting.

The agreement ensures the city completes tasks in each milestone to FAA's satisfaction. Upon the city's satisfactory completion of the tasks, the FAA agrees to complete actions listed for each milestone. Satisfactory completion of all tasks should be sufficient to complete the phased land releases, according to the memorandum.

Under the first milestone, the FAA would release 95 acres. The city hopes the release happens by the end of this year or early next year.

The second milestone would release 145 acres. Officials are hoping for an April release in time for the city to solicit bids for construction of the western interceptor sewer line.

The third milestone would release about 530 acres.

The city's tasks include taking all necessary actions to prevent further deterioration of the historic features of the old terminal building and surrounding 14.5 acres of land that have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and market the structure for business use.

The city has already undertaken exterior preservation measures such as painting and caulking to prevent further deterioration.

In other business Monday, the council:

n Adopted a $29,465 budget as recommended by the Finance Committee to reflect actual bids received by the city for FAA-required weatherization of the office area and hangar at the old airport terminal.

n Amended the contract for western interceptor sewer engineering work with Donohue and Associates to reflect $66,045 in additional fees to design, administer bids and prepare the loan application for a 54-inch diameter storm sewer line proposed to be built along 30th Street Southwest between 19th Avenue Southwest and 30th Avenue Southwest. The sewer line would be constructed at the same time and along the same route as the western interceptor. The storm water sewer line would be the first phase to increase the capacity to handle storm water runoff in a portion of southwest Willmar.

n Approved a $55,434 price quote from West Central Roofing of Willmar to reroof the City Office Building. City staff and the Public Works/Safety Committee recommended accepting the West Central bid instead of a lower $49,213 quote from Kandi Roofing of Pennock because the technology and materials in the higher bid have the potential to last longer.

WILLMAR -- A memorandum of understanding with the Federal Aviation Administration that establishes three milestones for the phased release of the old airport property to the city has been approved by the Willmar City Council.

The memorandum was discussed and received the recommendation of the Community Development Committee last week.

The council unanimously approved the memorandum without discussion Monday night and authorized Mayor Frank Yanish and City Administrator Charlene Stevens to sign it.

In an interview following the 48-minute council meeting, Yanish said he is pleased to have the agreement approved after several years of negotiation with the FAA. The memorandum spells out responsibilities that the city must undertake in order for FAA to release the old airport property, which the city is developing for industrial uses.

"I'm ecstatic about it because I think at the end of the year, or in January for sure, we should have the first phase of the land release,'' Yanish said.

Yanish said City Attorney Rich Ronning has reviewed the agreement.

Yanish restated that the city is "closer than we've ever been'' in getting the land released. "That's a good thing,'' he said.

Yanish said he was not surprised by the lack of council discussion Monday evening because the discussion took place at the committee meeting.

The agreement ensures the city completes tasks in each milestone to FAA's satisfaction. Upon the city's satisfactory completion of the tasks, the FAA agrees to complete actions listed for each milestone. Satisfactory completion of all tasks should be sufficient to complete the phased land releases, according to the memorandum.

Under the first milestone, the FAA would release 95 acres. The city hopes the release happens by the end of this year or early next year.

The second milestone would release 145 acres. Officials are hoping for an April release in time for the city to solicit bids for construction of the western interceptor sewer line.

The third milestone would release about 530 acres.

The city's tasks include taking all necessary actions to prevent further deterioration of the historic features of the old terminal building and surrounding 14.5 acres of land that have been determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and market the structure for business use.

The city has already undertaken exterior preservation measures such as painting and caulking to prevent further deterioration.

In other business Monday, the council:

- Adopted a $29,465 budget as recommended by the Finance Committee to reflect actual bids received by the city for FAA-required weatherization of the office area and hangar at the old airport terminal.

- Amended the contract for western interceptor sewer engineering work with Donohue and Associates to reflect $66,045 in additional fees to design, administer bids and prepare the loan application for a 54-inch diameter storm sewer line proposed to be built along 30th Street Southwest between 19th Avenue Southwest and 30th Avenue Southwest. The sewer line would be constructed at the same time and along the same route as the western interceptor. The storm water sewer line would be the first phase to increase the capacity to handle storm water runoff in a portion of southwest Willmar.

- Approved a $55,434 price quote from West Central Roofing of Willmar to reroof the City Office Building. City staff and the Public Works/Safety Committee recommended accepting the West Central bid instead of a lower $49,213 quote from Kandi Roofing of Pennock because the technology and materials in the higher bid have the potential to last longer.

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David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150
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