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Tribune Opinion: Staff works to fix City Hall water damage

A massive water leak over last weekend caused damage on several floors in the Willmar City offices.

Services in City Hall were limited on Monday as staff began cleanup procedures and damage assessments.

The leaking water was discovered on Sunday afternoon, but could have been running for only a few hours or since the City Office closed the previous Friday afternoon. The length of time is unknown.

The reality is that parts of the building, some city records and some electronic devices, like copiers and printers, were certainly well soaked.

Unfortunately, one of the hardest-hit areas is the public works and engineering department where much of the damage was located.

A share of damaged material is older paper records and plans, which have not yet been digitized or otherwise backed. The city has been studying ways to back up these older records and plans, but a decision has not yet been formalized.

It may soon become a facility decision time with the city considering whether to build a new city hall or do a large renovation project at an existing building in downtown Willmar or at the current location.

This may be time for the City Council to make a decision on the future of its city office complex. The preliminary 2018 budget has $8.5 million allocated for a city hall and community center project.

Kudos go out to city staff who jumped in right away on Sunday to begin the cleanup efforts and dry things out to control and minimize the damage.

The staff played an important role is getting the cleanup successfully started, so the public has been able to continue their city business without seeing any hurdles in the damaged City Hall.