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Montevideo, Minn., Council votes to put building needs on hold

MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo agreed not to study the possibility of converting the former Running's building for use as a fire hall and public works garage.

The decision at Monday's meeting was made after council members informally agreed the city could not afford the costs for developing a new fire hall or public works building at this point, said City Manager Steve Jones.

Council members agree that the city's existing fire hall and public works building are in need of replacement. The proposal to possibly convert the empty building along Minnesota Highway 7 on the east side was proposed as an alternative to building new. It would cost an estimated $13,300 to study whether the use of the building for a dual fire hall and public works building would work and be affordable.

The city estimates that building a new fire hall could cost $2.5 million to $3.5 million and a new public works building $1 million to $2 million.

Council members also learned that the city would not likely realize any cost savings by taking on the third phase of levee improvements without the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There is currently not sufficient federal funding allocated for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers work for next year's phase three of the overall levee improvement project.

The city might realize some cost savings by bidding the project absent the U.S. Corps of Engineers involvement, but the city would also realize engineering and other costs that would likely equal or exceed those savings, council members learned.

The council will continue to seek funding for the third phase of levee work, Jones said.

Work on the second phase is under way this year and fully funded.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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