Council sets the price and timetable for library expansion; separate police and fire facilities

Northfield City Council The Northfield City Council tonight opted for reuse of the existing Safety Center location for new fire station; a new location for police station; and expansion of the library downtown southward to include parking.  The not-to-exceed price tag targets: $8.5M for the library; $8.5M for the police station and the fire station. Timetable: police station in 2011, fire station in 2012, library expansion in 2014.

See our live chat transcript as well as the archived KYMN video stream of the meeting.


  1. Griff Wigley said:

    As I wrote in the live chat,  it was a big surprise to me that they opted to tear down the Safety Center and build a fire station there. On the tour last Friday, Jerry Anderson said that he’s heard NO support for that option.

    I still think Option B would be a lot simpler and cost-effective, ie, gradually renovate the current Safety Center into an expanded Police Station while building a new fire station.

    It was discussed but it wasn’t clear to me where the fire facility would temporarily go for a year while the Safety Ctr is torn down and the new fire facility built. Anyone know?

    November 16, 2009
  2. David Ludescher said:

    Griff:  What were the votes?

    November 17, 2009
  3. Griff Wigley said:

    Just got this Tweet from KYMN:

    Mayor Mary Rossing to be in studio with Jeff Johnson around 8:35 this morning. Listen online at

    I presume the Mayor will be discussing last night’s big Council decisions re: the CIP

    November 17, 2009
  4. Griff Wigley said:

    David, all votes but one were 6-1 with Denison dissenting. The timeline vote was 4-3 with with Pokorney, Zweifel and Denison voting no.

    November 17, 2009
  5. kiffi summa said:

    Griff : In reply to your question in #1, Mr Walinski suggested last night that the fire equipment could be temporarily sited at the new “cold storage facility” that is to be built as an unheated space that was presumed to be for storage of excess water dept and engineering equipment that could be in that sort of space.

    The approval for this storage space was given by the council a couple of weeks ago; at that time there was no talk of it coming in handy for a temporary  fire station. Last night, Mr. Walinski said the staff did not bring the storage facility to the council for approval until… and I couldn’t hear the rest of the sentence. But now, with no mention of it before, it is suggested as a possible temporary home for the fire station. After the meeting Councilor Zweifel said she knew nothing of this and wondered if it had been discussed at a meeting she missed. Where do these decisions get made?

    The location is, I believe, to be  by the water tower on the far eastern border of town. ***Please correct if that is a wrong assumption***

    If that is the correct location, imagine the path the fire engines must take to respond to a fire on the west side of town; look on a map and find the best route you can …

    November 17, 2009
  6. john george said:

    Kiffi- These are really good points you bring up. I seems this whole town was laid out according to whatever pattern was in vogue at the time a new addition was platted. We have a combination of grid system, culs-de-sac, and large looping streets. At least it is not as bad as Eden Prairie, but the horse is already out of the barn. you are correct that there is no good universal route across this city.

    I didn’t get a chance to go to any of the task force meetings, but the thing that stood out to me in the council discussions was the need for the fire station to be more centrally located. One scenario that comes to mind with the eastern edge of town location is a fire at, say, Cardinal Glass. Just as the firetrucks approach the Hwys. 3/19 intersection, a BNSF train shows up at the crossing. So, do the trucks go up to the Greenvale overpass to get around the train and then travel down Lincoln? I would hope this scenario was addressed by the task force in their recommendation. I know that every possible problem cannot be solved with any one particular proposal, but locating the fire station on any edge of town will encumber quick responses to a call.

    November 17, 2009
  7. David Ludescher said:

    After listening to Mayor Rossing, it is not clear why the Council rejected both the Majority and Minority reports. 

    November 19, 2009
  8. David Ludescher said:

    Griff:  Is the recommendation that was in the City Council packet available on-line?

    November 20, 2009
  9. Jane McWilliams said:

    David – it is:

    While it is not listed as being in the packet on the November 16 meeting notice, it is Number 9 on the Regular Agenda, meaning  you have to scroll down past the items earlier in the meeting.


    November 20, 2009
  10. David Ludescher said:

    Thanks Jane.

    November 21, 2009
  11. David Ludescher said:

    Jane:  Thanks for the summaries.

    November 21, 2009
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    In the Nfld News on Wed: Chiefs react to council’s split, cut.

    Police Chief Mark Taylor and Fire Chief Gerry Franek say their department operations will not be hurt by the separation, but said the split could increase construction costs. A joint facility would share mechanical equipment and work spaces, and those efficiencies would likely be lost with separate sites.

    “Instead of questions being answered, I think we have more questions we have to answer,” said Franek. “We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and hammer all these things out once again.”

    November 28, 2009
  13. […] asked him to explain his vote in favor of the plan to reuse the existing Safety Center location for a new fire station and to build a police stati…. The surprising short version of his answer: getting ‘political’ support to build a single […]

    April 6, 2010

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