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Montevideo, Minn., moving forward on fire hall

MONTEVIDEO -- City Council members in Montevideo are moving forward with plans to build a new fire hall, and expand the city police and administrative offices into the space that would be freed up.

The city conducted a public hearing Monday night on the proposal to build a new fire hall, and the council heard no opposition, said City Manager Steve Jones. Council members agreed to move the plans forward, but must allow a 30-day waiting period. If there are citizens opposed to the project, they have the time to gather signatures for a petition to challenge it.

Council members are looking at building a new fire hall at an estimated cost of $2.53 million on a site directly across from the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital on 11th Street.

They are also looking at an estimated $270,000 project to replace the heating and cooling system in the existing city hall building, which now houses the fire department, police and city offices.

The fire department has been seeking a new fire hall for nearly a decade. It lacks the space needed for its trucks and equipment that are larger now than when the original structure was built.

Lack of space is an equally pressing issue for police and city administrative services.

The city had explored the possibility of renovating the former Running's building for a fire hall, but rejected the option. The city recently held an open house to explain the space needs, and council members have invited public comment.

If a petition is not brought forward within the 30-day period, council members plan to retain Cities Edge Architects of Willmar to begin drafting plans. If all goes as planned, bids could be awarded for construction to begin next year.

Tom Cherveny

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

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