Redwood Falls Gazette
  • City authorizes park shelter planning despite lack of funding

  • The renovation effort for the Zeb Gray shelter in Ramsey Park received some good news and some bad news recently....
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  • The renovation of the Zeb Gray shelter in Ramsey Park received some good news and some bad news recently. Jackie Edwards, Redwood Falls Parks and Recreation Director, filled the city council in on Tuesday evening. On the positive side, Edwards said the Otto Bremer Foundation has approved donating $80,000 toward the renovation. On the negative side, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources turned down a grant request for $100,000. Where does this leave the project? In limbo. Current estimates place the cost of the shelter renovation at $264,000. Of that, $160,000 has been assured. In addition to the Bremer grant, the Friends of the Park have committed themselves to donating $40,000, while the city’s park development fund can contribute another $40,000. That leaves $104,000 to be located from other sources. Part of the problem is that the Bremer grant specifies a specific date for the shelter renovation to be finished: July 2015. City Councilor Jim Sandgren asked Edwards if it would be possible to do the renovation in phases? That is, renovate one part now with the money raised so far, and do the rest when the addition funds are found. Edwards and city project manager Jim Doering suggested that wasn’t too practical, given the work that needs to be done overall. The possibility of getting around the deadline by just not accepting the Bremer grant at this time was raised, and rejected. “The public asks, ‘How can you turn down free money?’” Edwards said. “When you have someone giving $80,000 toward a project, it’s hard to turn it down since the structure is going to have to be improved in the next couple of years either way.” Another problem with the deadline is that to meet it, the city would have to start hiring engineers to design plans and specifications, and sending out bids to contractors soon, with no guarantee the funding will be there. “If we have to start looking for plans and bids until next spring, there’s no way we can be finished by July, 2015,” Edward said. Edwards listed some other ways the funding could be raised: • Keep searching for new grant sources. • Postpone other park and rec projects planned for the next few years. • Redirect city funds already planned for other community development projects. In the end, the city council voted to authorize both accepting the Bremer grant and authorizing the planning. The search for the additional needed $104,000 will continue. In other city news, the council: • Approved the promotion of Redwood Falls Police Officer Randal Braun to Second Police Sergeant. • Approved adding Doug Nichols and Steve Rieke to the standard one-year probationary period as new firefighters with the Redwood Falls Fire Department. • Approved changes to the Redwood Falls Fire Department policy and procedural manual. The greatest change would be requiring all new firefighter hired after Aug. 1 of this year to obtain their First Responder Certification within the first year of service, and their Fire Fighter I and II and Haz Mat Ops Certification within their second year of service. • Approved an On-Sale Liquor and Sunday Liquor License for El Herradero Authentic Mexican Grill, LLC, new owners of El Cancun, LLC, effective Sept. 1. • Approved a $10,349 low interest loan and a $10,349 forgivable loan (grant) Downtown Commercial Rahab Loan Application from Brad Franklin to help fund the replacement of his commercial building at 110 S. Washington Street. • Approved a resolution authorizing an FFA grant to remove trees obstructing the approach to several runways at the Redwood Falls airport. Total cost of the tree removal will be $55,000, with the city paying 10 percent as its share. • Approved a work order for the 2014 Eastwood Drive Improvements project, increasing the cost by $66,900, not to exceed $136,000. The total estimated cost for the proposed improvements is $590,000. • Approved the final pay reimbursement for the 2012 infrastructure improvements, to Schmidt Construction, for $34,710. The final contract price is $689,042. • Approved the Redwood Falls Public Library accepting a $3,042 grant from the Redwood Falls Rotary Club, to be used for beautifying the library. • Approved the Redwood Area Hospital dietary department declaring a stove as surplus equipment, and disposing of it at a scrap yard.
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