Saturday, April 13th, 2024 Church Directory
This Map shows the proposed layout for the additions to city hall and the police department, as proposed by Wold Architects. (Submitted photo.)

Becker considers site schematics for city hall additions

Wold Architects was available at the recent Becker City Council meeting to discuss city hall and police department updates.

They presented their improvements design, with council direction being to keep the construction costs under $6.8 million.

The city hall and police station building needs much more space in order to remain operational.

Wold’s proposal was to use the courtyard area outside and turn it into a conference room and public lobby. The food shelf will be moved to the north end of the building so as to have front of building access to the police department.

A fitness area and garage will be added to the police department.

All the proposed changes put the estimated cost of the improvements over $6.8 million, so they proposed a slightly smaller square foot proposal as well, with a smaller garage for the police station as well as other changes.

Council expressed concerns over taking so much space off the garage, considering it would be one of the cheapest areas by square foot to build. But ultimately they agreed to remove the space in order to stay with budget, knowing they can add space later if needed, though they hoped to not need to do so for many years.

Council approved the schematic design, and Wold planned to continue to refine their design, and keep council updated as they move forward.

Rezoning

Eight parcels were considered to be rezoned from R-1 to R-3 (R-3 being a higher density residential area). The parcels are adjacent to the commercial area, off Edgewood St.

Council Member Rick Hendrickson said one resident of the area approached him with concerns over his property value if an apartment building would be put up. Hendrickson reached out to three different realtors to ask their opinion, and each noted that there was a buffer between the newly re-zoned area and the other properties in question that was created by power lines, so the impact on property values would be minimal.

Xcel Leachate Trial Agreement

The city currently processes leachate for a couple of companies. The city was hesitant, and decided to test the water before agreeing. Their tests showed that the water was not highly contaminated and would not harm any equipment owned by the city. Council approved entering into an agreement with Xcel for a trial period for two months to see how it goes, increasing the amount processed every week during those two months. The city is also authorized to end the trial at any time. 

The council will consider entering into a long-term agreement next spring, as Xcel will only need the services seasonally.

The city also established with Xcel that if the city grows, then handling residential waste is their top priority.

Currently, Xcel stores the contaminated water. Without the city’s help, they would have to truck the water to other facilities that could process it.

Kolbinger Park Improvements

City staff has observed a good amount of use at the skate park at Kolbinger Park. Staff asked council to approve design work and collect public input.

Mayor Tracy Bertram asked that the idea go to the parks and recreation committee to consider the project further. She said she didn’t want to simply replace the existing equipment, but have parks and rec consider how to make the area a better asset for the community.

Hendrickson expressed concerns over paying a lot of money for the park, giving the figure of $250,000 as something he couldn’t approve. 

Council continued to discuss the park, including the difficulties in maintaining the ice rink too.

The item was tabled for further consideration at a later time. 

Adult Cannabis Use

When the state approved adult cannabis use, they allowed for cities to create ordinance on where cannabis could be used. The city opted to not allow cannabis use on any city-owned property, including all parks, Pebble Creek, sidewalks, city hall, and other city-owned areas.

In Other Business, the Council:

• Approved cart path improvements for Pebble Creek;

• Sold some property in the business park to TJ Potter Trucking;

• Heard committee reports;

• Accepted the police body camera audit.