by ADAM GRUENEWALD
The Cologne City Council made decisions with appearance in mind during its meeting on Monday, April 7.
In addition to approving an official city logo, council members had visuals in mind when they approved a mill and overlay project for downtown. Wm. Mueller & Sons, Inc. will be contracted in the amount of $73,312 for work on Jacob Avenue, John Avenue and Market Street in an area located south of Benton Lake.
City Administrator John Hendel said the project involves more regular road work than the project in 2013.
“We’re not going to be spending quite what we spent last year,” he said. “Last year, we filled in a lot of those potholes with bigger stretches of work. We still anticipate there’s going to be some pothole work but this year we’re concentrating on (three streets)… Those are the three that seem in the biggest need of repair right now,”
The city only received the lone bid from Wm. Mueller & Sons, Inc., which worked on both Playhouse and Church streets last year.
“Mueller I think did an excellent job for us last year,” said Hendel. “I would like us, if we’re going to invest in this, to continue with the same group as long as we’re getting a good price.”
Mayor Matt Lein and council members agreed.
“There was some extra work on the patches last year that I was impressed with,” Lein said. “They actually dug down some of the patches and put down a real bottom layer and put in three inches on top of that.”
The mill and overlay project is expected to be conducted this spring and summer be completed by Glad Days set for July 24-26.
At the request of Jeff Nielsen, the general manager of United Farmers Cooperative, council members also agreed to let UFC handle a historic antique building located on their property. UFC is planning a $4.5 million expansion project for the Cologne Mill. Scheduled to begin in 2014 and be completed in 2015, plans call for a new scale on Mill Avenue and increases jobs in Cologne to 20 employees. As previously reported, the city exhausted efforts to have the building moved or preserved through the Carver County Historical Society and other sources.
“There is one slight chance that something could go in there,” said Hendel. “I don’t think the council needs to make an emergency decision about that building. It’s not our building, it’s UFC’s building.”
Council members agreed it would be nice if the building stayed, but agreed it is now up to UFC. Lein requested that they salvage the bricks for the city.
“UFC can give us something better than what is there,” said Lein.
Council member Scott Williams agreed, saying they need to look at the overall picture of improving Main Street.
“I look at what UFC is going to do and start bringing a little bit back to town to clean it up and make it look decent,” he said. “We got to start running with it. We need to bring business to this town. Housing isn’t going to keep us going.”
Considering the appearance of downtown yet again, council members also reaffirmed their offer of $5,000 for a building located at 105 Paul Avenue.
While they had considered using the area for potential office space, the city’s plan is to list the property for sale.
Carver County had previously rejected the offer, but council members stuck with that amount after reconsidering the cost of demolishing the building. The land is valued at $32,200, and demolition costs could go upwards of $20,000.
Hendel didn’t recommend increasing the offer by too much, adding he hasn’t received interest from someone needing land for constructing a building.
“I personally don’t think it’s worth that,” he said of the valuation. “If the city takes it, we’re either going to have to demo it or sit on it, put a sign up and turn it into off street parking.”
Williams and others agreed that they would like to see something done, but the cost was too prohibitive.
“For the cost I’m thinking no,” he said. “Yes, it would be nice to start cleaning up Main Street, but there’s other costs too.”
The city’s new logo will be implemented as needed, starting on letterhead and city shirts.
Council members also approved the purchase of $12,125 lawn mower for the parks departments from Waconia Farm Supply (UFC), a $11,399 repair project for Vos Construction to replace the doors and windows at the Public Works building and started a conversation on the purchase of three new computers, factoring in the end of support for Windows XP.
The Cologne City Council will next meet on Monday, April 21, at 7 p.m.
Contact Adam Gruenewald at firstname.lastname@example.org.