Tag Archives: City Hall renovation

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?

Will Obama Pay for City Hall Renovations?

ObamaWithFlag.jpegI’ve noticed that our City Officials and Staff have recently suggested breaking the proposed $1.2 million for City Hall renovations into phases. Apparently the first phase will be a few hundred thousand dollars for window replacement. A recent piece on MinnPost makes me wonder…maybe we can get Obama to pay for the windows at City Hall.

One of the City’s consulting firms, Johnson Controls, has run some numbers that suggest that public spending for new windows at City Hall will save the town money over the long term in energy costs. According to the Minnpost story, Obama favors investment projects that support his energy policy; thus there is support for those in which “public buildings would be made more energy efficient”. Perhaps waiting until the new administration has their programs in place could save Northfield a few hundred thousand dollars that could be used for other projects.

I’m wondering if there are additional local projects that might be eligible, even favored, for Obama’s spending plans. Another type of project mentioned in the piece is better internet connections for schools, libraries and hospitals. With the colleges’ super high-speed backbone already in town, perhaps we can get Washington to pay for the “last mile” necessary to make these long-discussed connections a reality.

As you might suspect, my mind quickly returns to the Northfield Industrial Corporation Transportation Task Force’s July 2000 “Recommendations for Improvements in Safety, Access and Quality of Life Issues for Northfield Transportation”. As I’ve mentioned once or twice before, the group identified 12 priority projects, of which only one and a half have been addressed to date. I’ll call out to my Blandin Buddy Kris Vohs and raise the 1998 plan for the Jefferson Parkway Extension from the dead. Do you think if we’d gotten beyond discussion to plans and specs that the financing might have suddenly been available?

But enough about my pet projects, I wonder if some of the folks serving on City Boards and Commissions have some thoughts. Are there any priority projects, related to roads, bridges, water and energy that are actually ready to go? Is the appropriate State Agency aware and supportive? Is the necessary community support in place?

Don’t wait until June. Looks like the time to get them on the table is now.

Podcast: the Triumvirate on the city hall renovation petition fiasco

It was just us co-hosts yesterday, doing the fluff treatment of the new owner of KYMN 1080 AM, Jeff Johnson, and then spinning conspiracy theories about the  city hall renovation petition fiasco.

Tender ears warning: the audio is PG-13 rated because of Tracy’s bullshit.

Scheduling warning: the program will air on KYMN next Wed, Sept. 24, 5:30 PM.  Those pesky Minnesota Twins bumped us from the 5:30 PM time slot.

Discussion warning: I’ve turned off comments (but not pingbacks) on this blog post. Instead, comment about KYMN here, and comment about city hall renovation here.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes. Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM.

City Hall renovation bonding petition deadline is Sept. 3

The editorial in today’s Nfld News is titled: Bonding proposal should go to voters (links below are mine):

Several downtown establishments have joined together to present a petition to put the bonding question before voters. Petitions are available at Froggy Bottoms, Rueb ‘N Stein, Tiny’s and the Contented Cow. As long as the vote can be put on the November ballot and doesn’t require the cost of a special election, the petition should be supported.

Nfld News managing editor Jaci Smith published this earlier in the week: Petition circulating at the Cow.

Bonding petition Bonding petition

I took these photos of the petition table at the Cow earlier this week.

Comments on this blog post are closed. Join the discussion in progress on Ross’ blog post titled City Hall Renovation Tops a Million Dollars.

Podcast: Councilor Dixon Bond on city hall renovations, liquor store relocation

Dixon Bond, Tracy Davis, Ross Currier Newly appointed interim At-Large Councilor Dixon Bond (no relation to James) was our guest this week.

Main topic: the plans to renovate City Hall. See Ross’ blog post City Hall Renovation Tops a Million Dollars to continue the discussion on that issue.

We also chatted about the liquor store relocation.

Click play to listen. 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes. Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM.

City Hall Renovation Tops a Million Dollars

MillionDollarMakeOver-1.jpgLate last week I heard that with the latest “add”, the cost of renovating the City Hall is now over a million dollars. Already at $800,000, there’s now a quarter million dollar addition from Johnson Controls.

This has been one of the strangest on-going stories, at least to me, in a year full of strange stories.

When Al Roder first arrived in town, he floated the idea of swapping the library for the city hall. Not only did I think that cutting up the grand second floor space into little offices would be an aesthetic crime, I couldn’t really visualize the library space working for city hall. Al’s next idea was putting the city hall in the old College City Beverage building. Not only did I question the location for our city hall, it seemed to me that a town short of industrial space shouldn’t be converting one of its finest sites into a public use.

Fortunately, after probably too much time and too many resources, both of those ideas were dropped. In its place was proposed the substantial renovation of the city hall with the help of foundation repair Fort Worth. When Al was advocating for the library and then the CCB sites, he suggested that renovating the existing building would be cost prohibitive; a figure of two million dollars was bandied about in the informal discussions. As that concept rose to the top of the heap, the cost miraculously dropped to five or six hundred thousand. Now it’s back over a million.

Accordiing to Mr. Roder, the city hall project was all about increasing customer service.

I don’t know of a single citizen who thinks that spending a million dollars on the city hall is a good use of taxpayer money. Will a few more “adds” drive the price back to $2 million? Are the alleged gains in customer service worth $1 million or $2 million? Is it a better investment than a hockey rink, a performing arts center, or a new business park? With Al now in Norfolk, who is the champion for this project, pushing it steadily forward, and keeping it on the top of our list of priorities?

Somebody suggested that the thirty-day clock for a reverse referendum on this project is already ticking.

Podcast: Kathleen ‘Mac’ McBride on the Capital Improvement Plan (CIP); citizen input needed

Ross Currier, Tracy Davis, Kathleen 'Mac' McBrideKathleen ‘Mac’ McBride, the City of Northfield’s EOF (Empress of Finance) was our guest this week. (She’s also known as the city’s Finance Director).

We mainly talked about the city’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) that’s currently in draft form, awaiting further input from citizens.

Mac sent us her CIP PowerPoint presentation from the 6/2 public hearing and alerted us to the CIP docs on the City’s website. (See links to many Northfield-related documents on the Locally Grown Documents page.)

CIP-cover-sshot CIP-ppt-cover-sshot CIP-feedbackform-sshot

Here’s another way to view her CIP Powerpoint presentation. Click on any page and you’ll be taken to a larger Flash version of the document.

And here’s the audio of the podcast:

Click play to listen. 30 minutes. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe directly with iTunes. Our radio show/podcast, Locally Grown, usually airs Wednesdays at 5:30 PM on KYMN 1080 AM.

As for citizen input on the CIP, feel free to ask questions and comment here.