Finance Committee recommends $984K budget for the Civic Center connection
By David Little firstname.lastname@example.org WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee is recommending an estimated budget of $984,000 to construct the connection between the Willmar Civic Center and the Blue Line Center. The budget -- more th...
By David Little
WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council's Finance Committee is recommending an estimated budget of $984,000 to construct the connection between the Willmar Civic Center and the Blue Line Center.
The budget -- more than triple an earlier estimate -- will be recommended to the full council at the Aug. 21 meeting.
The concept of moving ahead with the connection was approved at the Aug. 7 council meeting.
Finance Committee Chairman Denis Anderson recalled there was much discussion about the increase in the estimated cost and whether or not it was appropriate.
But the committee's action Monday night was to approve the budget, he said.
According to drawings prepared by Engan Associates of Willmar, the connection would include a new one-story lobby, larger concession area, storage areas and locker rooms. The existing Civic Center entrance would be remodeled into a conference room.
The nearly $1 million projected cost has risen because construction and material costs have increased since the original $300,000 estimate was developed nearly three years ago, the council was told at the last meeting.
The connection is one of four projects that will be paid with a seven-year, $8 million local sales tax. The tax was approved by voters in 2004 and authorized by the Legislature in 2005.
Besides the Civic Center connection, the council allocated $400,000 for hiking and biking trails, $300,000 to buy 60 acres of land on U.S. Highway 71 North, and the remainder to develop an industrial park at the old airport.
The council had planned to take care of the Civic Center connection, the trails and the land purchase this year.
But it looks like the trails and land purchase won't occur in 2006 because grant applications for additional trail funding have not been approved and discussions with the state about buying the land along the highway are continuing, according to Steve Okins, city finance director.
Okins recommended the committee redirect funding for the trails and land purchase to the Civic Center project, and that the council budget the trail development and land purchase in 2007.
In other business, the committee voted to recommend the council budget $170,000 to provide sewer and water service to 25 private hangars at the new city airport. The cost would be billed to the hangar owners, said Okins.
The sewer and water proposal would be included in the 2007 improvement project. Hangar owners would have a chance at next year's improvement hearing to object to the proposed utility service, and the council could either approve it or reject it, said Okins.
Ten of 14 hangar owners who responded to a survey said they favored the sewer and water service.