10/31/2013 3:16:00 PM Chisago City Fire station design
committee to meet
by PAUL RIGNELL
The Chisago City Fire Department and other city officials are moving ahead with plans for building a new fire station near the Public Works garage on Karmel Avenue. City Council members agreed Oct. 22 that Joe Sroga should join Mayor Bob Gustafson on a committee that will interview up to five architectural firms, likely in November. Sroga already serves as a council liaison to the Fire Department, which will also appoint some members to the interview committee.
After reviewing recent work and credentials of about 10 different firms, project leaders were planning to contact five for scheduling interviews. Costs are estimated at $2 million in current dollars to build a new station that would give the department more truck bays, a larger training area and meeting space. The existing fire hall is just south of Highway 8 at East Street and Railroad Avenue. Sroga was one council member who said Oct. 22 that the department is overdue for better space. “The (old station) has seen its day,” he said.
Tim Alm, a resident on Woodland Drive who attended the meeting, told the council that though it is important to support the Fire Department there is also an obligation to all taxpayers. “We are a small community and (the firefighters) have a service, but we all have to live within means and budgets,” he said. “People are only getting so much in pay increases, so try to keep within that percentage.” He added that the city should beware of being sold anything that is not crucial for department needs.
Architects and engineers will not necessarily have the city’s best interests in mind, he said. “They always have flamboyant ideas,” he said. Council member Don Taylor replied that the council is concerned about taxes while generally consenting there is a need for fire station improvements. “We have to look at the future, but we have to look very carefully at the future,” Taylor said. The city is freeing some space in the Public Works garage with plans to put some recycled hockey rink boards to use.
For about a year, Chisago City has stored several stacks of hockey rink boards that were formerly owned by the city of Brooklyn Park. Chisago City Administrator John Pechman, who volunteers as a youth hockey coach, said there were enough 8-foot boards in the stacks to build six new rinks. Chisago City parks workers will use 60 to 70 of the boards to replace the older boards of the existing rink at Chuckie Lundquist Park, and space has been cleared to the north and east of that rink (and parallel to Hwy. 8) for building a second, smaller rink with 40 to 60 boards for younger, less experienced skaters and hockey players.
Council voted Oct. 22 to give more of the remaining boards to the city of Lindstrom, where a resident volunteer has proposed to build a rink at the Kroon Lake neighborhood park. “We will still have a whole, complete rink” in boards to be used, Pechman said, adding a rink could be planned for a park in a newer residential development out of Chisago’s central area. Chisago’s council voted a Xerox copier that was previously owned by the Chisago Lakes Distributing beverage supplier. The equipment will join another city office copier that Pechman described as a “little engine that could,” providing an upgrade with color printing capabilities.