While the and audience members had to spend a few minutes in the Richfield City Hall basement due to a tornado warning Tuesday night, the council also managed to approve multiple agenda items, listen to public input and discuss current projects.
The major topics discussed were the proposed grant applications to fund a contamination investigation of the site and the building of a skate park at Augsburg Park.
Lyndale Garden Center Buyers Seeking Investigative Grant to Understand Degree of Soil Contamination
The council gave its support and approval to purchasers to apply for various grants to get funding for site contamination studies.
The Cornerstone Group recently announced it had a signed purchase agreement for the Lyndale Garden Center property and until it closes on the deal in mid-Summer 2011, the real estate development company has been working on its plans for the space.
On Tuesday, the group hoped to work with the city in apply for grants that, if awarded, would pay for a soil contamination investigation. The group is applying for a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development Grant and a Metropolitan Council Contamination Investigation and Response Action Plan Development Grant.
The Cornerstone Group’s Project Manager Beth Pfeifer said the goal of the investigation would be to determine just how much contamination existed so it could move forward in deciding whether to officially purchase the property.
was worried the current owner of the property was “passing the buck” to The Cornerstone Group and believed those responsible for the contamination should be held accountable to clean it up.
While the council, city staff and Pfeifer understood Wroge’s concerns, many stated that it was difficult to prove fault and said there were historic examples of trying to do so, which resulted in lots of time spent chasing down the person at fault. In addition, many believed the state grant options are meant to provide a solution to this problem and help developers interested in revitalizing a property.
In addition, Pfeifer stated that the reduced price the group had negotiated with the owner reflected the acknowledgement of contamination.
Proposed Skate Park at Augsburg
Jim Topitzhofer, Richfield Recreation Services director, presented the Richfield Community Services Commissions plans for a new skate park to be put in at . Topitzhofer said this project has been in the works for about 10 years and it has finally become a reality.
The presentation was held as a public hearing and a handful of community members spoke to the council about their concerns and happiness for the new amenity. The following are some of the pros and cons brought up by community members:Pros: Cons:
- Centrally located and accessible;
- The skate park would eliminate the basketball court;
- Provides an alternative option of skaters or potentially bikers;
- Bring in more youth that could possibly damage or create trouble in the park;
- Foster mentorship between beginners and more experienced skaters;
- Extra traffic in the neighborhood;
- While the project would cause the park to lose its basketball court, many other city parks have courts.
- Not the best venue; would be better.
Community member and chairman Rick Jabs said he had taken part in part of the planning in past years and was for using Augsburg Park as the venue.
“The park is there for one reason and that’s for people to use [it],” Jabs said. “I think it’s important to have an alternative for these kids [who skateboard].”
Councilman Wroge loved the idea of creating the park but said the reasons for choosing Augsburg Park over Roosevelt Park were “flawed.”
Nonetheless, the council approved the Augsburg Park concept, allowing the city to begin negotiating a contract with the builders, Hardcore Skateparks Inc.
In other business:
- Richfield Public Works Director Mike Eastling announced that it was National Public Works Week and as part of that the department is highlighting the Metro City Sewer Project with a video that features two toddlers with adult voice-overs.
- The council had its annual meeting with the Richfield Civil Service Commission.
- The Minnesota Public Works Association honored Eastling as one of the top 10 public works workers in Minnesota. To see more details on Eastling’s award, click .
- All consent calendar items were approved, with the exception of items B and C, which referred to The Cornerstone Group grant applications discussed above.
- The first reading of a transitory ordinance was approved. The ordinance authorizes the planning, design and rehabilitation of the water plant’s clarifiers or baffles, and the replacement of chain room piping and pumps. The estimated cost is $1.480 million and the second reading is scheduled for June 14. The hiring of Short Elliot Hendrickson Inc. to provide engineering services for planning, design and construction oversight on the project was approved as well. The ordinance details the fees should not exceed $151,925, however a separate ordinance was approved that would allow city staff to extend that up by $25,000 without council approval.
- The council approved a resolution to accept bids for the reconditioning of the Logan Avenue Water Tower from TMI Coatings Inc. The total cost was estimated at $796,000.
- Approved the execution of option agreement with Sherman Associates for the sale of the south portion of the former public works maintenance facility. A three-story, affordable housing complex is slated for the site as long as funding comes through, which probably won’t be known until October 2011.
The next council meeting will be at 7p.m. June 14 at the new , which is expected to open by the end of May 2011.