Winsted-Lester Prairie Journal, Sept. 13, 1999

Winsted council looking for action on city hall issue

By Luis Puga

The Winsted City Council received a number of responses for its solicitation of an architect for the old city hall project at Tuesday's regular meeting.

The council was looking for an architect who could draw up plans for repairing the old city hall and building a new city hall.

A number of the architects specialized in historic buildings. Reeves noted they were very expensive.

A proposal was also submitted for the old and new city hall plans by Bonestroo, Rosene, Anderlik and Associates, the city's engineer on the curb and gutter repair project. The firm's bid was the lowest at $8,100.

Much discussion focused on the fact a lot of money had been spent on studies.

The city has on file studies executed about 10 years ago for a new city hall and repairs to the old one. Reeves cautioned that the costs were outdated and described the new city hall design as extravagant.

However, general consensus was that those plans could be used as a base for new studies and that turning over all that information might decrease the costs of executing more studies.

Lenz felt that the design for a new city hall could be adjusted for current needs.

City Clerk Betty Zachmann estimated that the city has spent about $30,000 in the last four to five years on the old city hall. Consensus was that some action needs to be taken on the building soon. Reeves added that the falling bricks from the building pose a safety concern.

In general, the council was in favor of preserving the historic building. However, Albers suggested that it might be sold to a developer.

Another suggestion was that the building be torn down and the facade be reconstructed exactly as in the original design. Behind that front would be a new structure.

Kegler added that after all the repairs were made, much of the old building would not be there anyway.

Some discussion was given to the potential for library use and the possibility of grant money for repairing the old city hall. Reeves reminded the council not to think of the grant as a guarantee.

The council opted to have Reeves give all the relevant plans and information to Bonestroo with the options of developing a new city hall adjacent to the old fire station, repairing the old city hall, and demolishing the old city hall and rebuilding its facade with a new building in back.

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