April 16, 2015 at 3:49 p.m.

Center City keeping bus garage purchase alive with counter-offer

Center City keeping bus garage purchase alive with counter-offer
Center City keeping bus garage purchase alive with counter-offer

With a full council convening April 7, Center City officials agreed to move forward in pursuing Chisago County’s Heartland Express building as a new location for city offices, meeting space and a public works garage. If the city is successful in acquiring the site, the Fire Department’s operations would expand into the existing city property on Burns Avenue.

The county recently asked $125,000 for the Heartland Express building, which is near the Bayview Senior Apartments on Center Avenue.
The County Board has the purchase on its agenda for a closed session Wednesday night this week.

Mayor Larry Houger and the other council members  voted in favor of supporting a new offer for $112,500, and they directed City Attorney Ted Alliegro to draft a proposal that would have the city paying off its debt for the building (interest-free) over 10 years.

Councilmember Donna Higgins said that a move to the county building would meet city needs while saving residents from higher taxes for bonding costs. She said Center City does not have the money to consider a new project like other cities have completed in recent memory, ranging from $700,000 for a city building in Shafer to $1.4 million for a fire hall project several years ago in North Branch, she said.

In other council business, staff reported that the city was denied a Safe Routes to School grant and other recent funding for establishing a crosswalk across Hwy. 8 from the Dew Drop townhome neighborhood.

Council is committed to enhancing walkability for all residents, however, and they directed staff to schedule a town meeting on the subject. Council agreed on planning a special meeting for early May, possibly at Chisago Lake Lutheran Church to accommodate a larger group.

Council approved an advertisement for a part-time seasonal park maintenance position. The new position is likely to be scheduled in June through August with up to 20 hours per week.

City volunteers who would like to get an early jump on Earth Day (which is April 22) may meet 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18, at the city garage to head out for mulching and other tasks in parks and public areas. Mayor Houger said lunch would be provided back at the base, and that he is planning to prepare pulled pork sandwiches.

Public Works Superintendent Eric Garner said hydrant flushing will begin April 20. He added that a trucking company which was responsible for running down a stop sign at Hwy. 8 and Grand Avenue has agreed to cover the cost of a replacement. Garner said an eyewitness reported that incident.

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