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Paynesville looks to move forward on Lake Koronis shelter project this summer

PAYNESVILLE -- The city of Paynesville will start construction on a shelter project at Lake Koronis this year if it can find other local assistance.

Mayor Jeff Thompson said Thursday the Paynesville City Council discussed numerous topics and possible city projects during Wednesday's special meeting. For the majority, he said, Paynesville is waiting on a handful of projects, but the city wants to move forward with constructing a shelter at Veterans Park on Lake Koronis.

The shelter project, which is estimated to cost Paynesville about $150,000, would include kitchen facilities and bathrooms, Thompson said. However, he said, Paynesville is looking for a little financial help from other local government agencies.

Thompson said the city plans to approach Stearns County and some of the townships surrounding Lake Koronis in hopes of finding financial assistance from the other entities. He said the city also wants to contact other surrounding townships about supporting the project but issuing no funds toward it.

Thompson said the city wants to get "some verbal support that we can take to (Stearns) County and say 'We've got X-number of dollars from Paynesville Township. Can you match that and help us get this project?'"

With other funding sources, Thompson said, Paynesville can financially support the project's construction.

"That's something we think we can possibly handle," Thompson said. "And it would just be a nice thing to do for the community and the residents."

The city opened for bids on the project in March, Thompson said, and all of them cost less than the city's project estimate.

Since the lowest bid came from a local contractor, Thompson said, the project could be "a nice, little mini-stimulus package within the community" if the City Council finds the financial assistance it's looking for.

"But it's the kind of thing that if we don't get the financial support from (Stearns) County and Paynesville Township we probably will not do," Thompson said.

Thompson said the City Council will discuss and possibly decide on the fate of the project during the April 8 regular meeting.

The mayor also mentioned Paynesville will most likely postpone plans to construct a new 10-unit T-hangar at Paynesville Municipal Airport.

According to archive, Paynesville opened for bids on the project in February and Thompson estimated the project would cost the city between $500,000 and $600,000. However, about 90 percent of the work is supposed to be reimbursed by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Thompson said the city will most likely postpone the project because the funding agreement with the FAA is valid through 2010, and the city is still leery about overstretching itself in expenses this year.

Before starting any new projects in today's economic climate, Thompson said, Paynesville is most concerned with maintaining the services the city provides.