City Hall additions and renovations back on the table?

construction-bulletin-nov09-sshotThere’s a new Construction Bulletin newsletter out this week that contains a Northfield listing on a “Governmental Office(s) Study For Possible Additions & Renovations To City Hall” with Hay Dobbs Architecture listed as the contact. Last year, city hall renovation was a hot and divisive issue (that links to our blog posts tagged with that phrase). I don’t think this has been discussed publicly so it’s a bit of a surprise, much like the Construction Bulletin on the Muni that I blogged back in Oct. Someone is paying to have these notices listed so it’s hard to imagine how it can be a mistake.  So Victor, time for a new petition?


  1. victor summa said:

    Oh Yeah …

    We’re working on a generic form — Reverser Referendum — that is.

    In fact, we’re making up a list of topics.  That’s not too hard, as irreverent ideas keep flowing in cascade from City Hall.  Interesting fact there, is the greatest need for repair (upgrade) might be in the building’s occupants, not the brick and mortar. I could support that!   Also, we’ll be banking on better communications with a new city attorney’s office this go-around — a citizen positive outcome that might come with new pants in that seat. Just 10 and a half months into the new “clean up” open city communications and “happy times” administration … and all we get from the ranking chairs is illusion and happy talk. Rumor is they’re burning midnight oil to make up these charades that play out weekly in the hallowed chambers.

    Where’s the fourth estate? Immersed in spell check?



    November 18, 2009
  2. kiffi summa said:

    Griff: You posted the Construction Bulletin notice re: a new liquor store on October 23rd… Less than a month later this notice appears… and this at the  end of months of discussion surrounding a new Safety Center and Library, the funding of which (Safety Center) has not yet been definitively addressed by the  council. The Library, as always, seems to have their ducks firmly marching along.

    What level of  what I will term ‘arrogance’ allows the ‘city’ to presume that all the talk of severe economic times is just a lot of empty rhetoric?

    Who will question this latest fiasco?

    Do the Councilors all know and agree to this process at the same time they are limiting pay increases  of employees? Do they ask these questions of the Administration? Are any of them embarrassed if they do not know of these plans, and have to answer the questions of inquiring constituents?

    Why can’t we have a newspaper that has some perception of responsibility to inquire and investigate the news that  will inform the taxpayers/citizens of this community?

    November 18, 2009
  3. Patrick Enders said:

    Kiffi, you wrote:

    Who will question this latest fiasco?

    I believe that it is your very own ward councilperson, Jon Denison, who cast the lone dissenting vote against these decisions.

    Kudos to him, eh?

    November 18, 2009
  4. kiffi summa said:

    Patrick : I believe you must be writing on the wrong thread? or else you weren’t really ‘listening’ to what you were ‘reading’? My comments re “fiasco” above were in no way referring to the safety center vote; I can’t imagine how you misconstrued that… just because I mentioned the  Safety Center financing?

    You missed the point, and no… no kudos to Councilor Denison on that issue either…


    November 18, 2009
  5. Patrick Enders said:


    My mistake.  I am often confused as to what exactly is being criticized at any given time.

    November 18, 2009
  6. Griff Wigley said:

    I think I fixed things, Patrick. Let me know if not.

    November 18, 2009
  7. Jane McWilliams said:

    I sent Joel Walinski an email asking about this and here’s his reply:

    Jane –

    Once again I will have to place blame at the feet of the Reed’s Construction Bulletin. The announcement, the Feasibility Study which was completed by Hey-Dobbs, was forwarded by a reporter who was assigned to review previous projects posted in the Bulletin and provide updates, hence this announcement was mistakenly posted in the project news. I have a call in to the Bulletin’s Editorial Department which handles these updates asking the question how a 2007 RFP posting is considered news in November of 2009.


    November 19, 2009
  8. kiffi summa said:

    “Once again I will have to place the blame”…   Hmmm…

    So, just another “reporter” who doesn’t  fact-check?   well, we’re familiar with those here in Northfield.


    November 20, 2009
  9. Griff Wigley said:

    Thanks much for checking with Joel, Jane. Much appreciated!

    November 21, 2009
  10. kiffi summa said:

    I hope we’ll have a ‘final’ on this one; we never did on the liquor store ad you posted previously, Griff.

    Jane:  did you by any chance ask Joel to let you know what  was identified as the problem  when he (Joel) calls the editorial dept. at the construction newsletter ?

    It’s really not helpful to have these spectres floating about…

    November 22, 2009
  11. Patrick Enders said:

    Perhaps we wouldn’t have these spectres floating around if someone would’ve just called Joel and asked in the first place?

    November 22, 2009
  12. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick, I could have called Joel but it often helps to have a permanent location to refer back to in case the issue resurfaces.

    November 23, 2009
  13. Patrick Enders said:


    Say what?  I don’t follow your reasoning at all.

    November 23, 2009
  14. Griff Wigley said:

    Sorry, Patrick, I didn’t phrase that well at all.

    Every blog post and every comment has a unique URL/web address that never expires, called a permalink.

    So if it turns out in a few months that city hall renovations actually were being privately considered, then this blog post and Jane’s comment with Joel’s email will be available to link to.

    Liquor store construction and city hall renovations have both been hot topics so for them to appear in a construction bulletin raises concerns. So I purposely composed the blog post headlines in the form of a question and asked people to help check on it.

    It all appears to have been much ado about nothing but it hasn’t really hurt anyone or anything by my asking. And there’s a small chance it might prove to be helpful down the road.

    November 24, 2009
  15. victor summa said:

    and .. the question[s] remain unanswered, who is responsible for the mis-postings in the Construction Bulletin and how does it happen that two controversial issues (building issues) put to bed here in Northfield, resurface in this seemingly professional newsletter – and, with current references as to dates and persons (read,Consultants)

    Questions for Patrick:  Do you think the Construction Bulletin wants to appear this sloppy?  Who paid for the postings?  SPECULATE with me just briefly. If Northfield City Staff wanted to pursue professional investigation of these issues but didn’t want to own up to that effort too prematurely, when queried on the topic, would they be inclined to stonewall as to source, and add puzzlement.

    If nothing else, that’s what good drama is made of.

    On this issue I  age with Griff … phrasing his POST as he does, h invite conversation and perspective.  The problem comes with weaknesses at that level.

    I’d invite you to all revisit the January 09 WAY park runaroiud that reopened a done deal .. and has resulted in the boondoggle of an emergency-vehicle-cut through WAY PARK.  Challenge is to drive a fire engine at 35 miles per hour and stay on the pavement.

    I predict  this route will become a rite of passage test for young Northfield drivers.  SEE: Rebel Without A Cause.  A little photo- op  there for the Wigs Guy.  Oddly enough, the road wa through the park closely resembles a big Dollar Sign!






    November 24, 2009
  16. Patrick Enders said:

    Your further explanation doesn’t seem to answer the question: why not call Joel before posting this, and include his answer in your post? It would only take 5 minutes, and it would seem that doing so would create a much more complete and useful “permanent location.”

    I guess it all comes down to what your aspirations for this site are: idle speculation, or informed discussion? Unfortunately, I fear that the more you have of the former, the harder it may become to take you seriously as a source of the latter.

    I’m sorry, but I choose not to speculate along with the three of you on this.

    Thank you for your helpful email and post. It will be interesting to see what further information Joel might provide; please keep us updated on anything that you hear.

    November 24, 2009
  17. victor summa said:

    Patrick (and Griff) I age alone. My typo above was weird. I do not “age” with Griff but I do “agree” with him, (in this case).

    As to speculation, Patrick, don’t. Visit Way Park and view the serpentine roadway, and add a comment.

    That’s for openers.

    For closers I’d say, in reviewing much of your comments in the past, you speculate a lot … and want answers to the implied speculation. Forgive me if I read into your remarks Speculation. Perhaps it’s its cousin, Skepticism.

    As to asking staff for answers … that might get you fact or spin. You seem far less skeptical than I. I’d speculate (there I go again) that’s because I’m in a seat close to the front, rowing, while your lounging in the trailer coasting along sipin’ cool aid.

    November 24, 2009
  18. Patrick Enders said:

    Victor: Thank you for your insight into my character.

    November 24, 2009
  19. Jane McWilliams said:


    Here’s an email Joel Walinski received, I presume after he contacted Mr. Thompson:

    Joel –

    I just left a message with Fonda to not publish the Project News update on the “Proposed Pending Feasibility Study” for Northfield City Hall (see attached scan from Nov. 16th, 2009 issue).

    I am not sure why the item ran incorrect.

    If anyone has any questions regarding Project News and the content therein, I would be happy to help them on your behalf. My contact information is below.

    Fonda – Please confirm that the news item in question will not run as an update in an upcoming issue. The feasibility study is done.

    Have a great weekend everyone,
    Rich Thompson
    Advertising Sales

    Construction Bulletin / Login & Learn
    684 Glencoe Rd, Excelsior, MN 55331

    November 24, 2009
  20. Patrick Enders said:

    Thanks again, Jane.

    November 25, 2009
  21. victor summa said:

    Does anyone else here “speculate” that Mr Thompson isn’t too interested in providing current (read convenient and easy) means of communications? Where’s his E Mail address, a phone number? Even I know snail-mail is far more cumbersome than the E process. Has City Hall conspired with the CB to provide thinly veiled answers?

    As to his actual remarks, I find them indefinite. He does acknowledge the “item ran incorrect[ly]” but attributes no rhyme nor reason for the error. Did it originate in some office in the Northfield’s City Hall? — Or, in the basement of the Construction Bulletin? Is there a paper trail? Was it paid for? Who wrote the check? Who signed the order to “PRINT”? Was there confimation of th pubishing process by the CB to its client? Who’s that?

    I’d speculate Thompson’s information is purposely incomplete, and the result allows skepticism (mine) to linger. I’d also say while the City Administrator has more on his plate than concern over the remarks made here on LG … he’s spent some of his workday pursuing answers to Citizen’s questions … and at best (my view) provided only clouded answers. I’d have Thompson write (and publish in the N News) a complete explanation and an apology – if one is in order. While some might say a simple classified ad shouldn’t be held to such standards … in this case, the sensitivity of the N’fld community on both issues addressed in the CB, is such, that anything short of that is inadequate … and even those answers might leave lingering doubt as to what is really going on.

    This brings another thought to mind. Why hasn’t the award winning N News provided any coverage or investigation into these bizarre circumstance?

    We all know (well, some of us do) that Staff has a way of silently mining projects, even after the community has been led to believe the mine’s shut down.

    As to communications from The Hall: I recently (recently … maybe in September) asked a question of the Mayor council and Administrator, from the open mic, where, incidentally, the citizen’s procedure is; ask and follow up with your question in written form, and you’ll get an answer.

    Well … I followed up as required, in writing. Then (maybe in late October) getting NOTHING, again from the Open Mic, (and at that time precisely) asked the City Administrator why I’d received no answer from him.

    His response at that time: “I haven’t been authorized to give you an answer”.

    Perhaps this begs the question[s] who authorized his involvement in this issue on LG? I’d also speculate it begs the question: why is everything so convoluted?

    For all other citizen questions is there an authorization process before acting on the policy? I doubt it … but, I’m sure I’d find it difficult to get an answer.

    But, If the answer would result in releasing “classified” information, then the answer should be: That’s CLASSIFIED!

    So the rope with which they hang themselves gets longer.

    PS To Patrick

    Patrick: I was not commenting on your character. As I see it, I WAS drawing a colorful illustration of your level of involvement compared to mine.

    I know you probably never let Kool Aid pass your lips, and I’ve never seen you lounging in a trailer coming up in the rear. Merely a weak metaphor, at best.

    November 25, 2009
  22. Griff Wigley said:

    Patrick, sometimes speculating is all I have time for. Other times, a little bit of research leads to long involvement. For example, for the Aldsworth blog post I was departing GBM and decided to stop by Jim Braucher’s office to see if he could chat. That 45-minute chat turned into a blog post that took me 3 hours to put together. It could have been a “Anyone know anything about tearing down the Aldsworth?” titled blog post but I decided more was warranted.

    Likewise, the sexual misconduct blog post was actually preceded by my phone call to Joel Leer in an attempt to get further info about rumors of consensual sex incidents at the high school that I’d heard about. After talking to him, I decided to not blog it, but instead, just focus on the handbook policy.

    So when you say:

    I guess it all comes down to what your aspirations for this site are: idle speculation, or informed discussion? Unfortunately, I fear that the more you have of the former, the harder it may become to take you seriously as a source of the latter.

    I’d like to assure you that ‘informed discussion’ is my aspiration for the site but that sometimes, idle speculation is all I have time for and that when I do engage in it, I try to do it responsibly.

    November 27, 2009

Leave a Reply