Municipal campus name unveiled

Forest Lake City Center currently $656,000 under budget


Clint Riese
News Editor

It’s been called the municipal campus, the public safety/city hall facility and the Northland Mall redevelopment area. Now it has an official name.

The result of the city’s $21 million project on Highway 61 will be known as the Forest Lake City Center.

The Economic Development Authority approved the designation Monday after the name received over twice as many votes as any other in a community poll. Forest Lake Commons came in second.

The Forest Lake City Center may also refer to the entire area; the city envisons commercial outlots being sold.

In a related action, the City Council approved on its second try an architectural report that sends the facility’s design work on to its final stage. The measure stalled on a 2-2 vote June 10 as council members debated the need for a front-entrance canopy, then estimated at $250,000.

In the weeks since, the project’s building committee came to consensus on a scaled-back canopy, shaving off more than $50,000.

“There was a lot of discussion about the canopy,” said Councilman Mike Freer, a member of the building committee. “I don’t think anybody got exactly what they were looking for, per se, but I think this is a very good compromise.”

In a flip from two weeks ago, Freer voted to approve the design development report. He was joined by Susan Young, who was absent June 10.

“I don’t want a Soviet Bloc bunker to be our city hall,” she said, explaining her support for the canopy. “I’m sorry, that’s not what I’m after. I don’t need a Taj Mahal, but I do need a building that our residents can be proud of.”

City Administrator Aaron Parrish briefed the council on the project’s progress. The building committee has combed through the facility’s full architecture and systems. With the value engineering process complete, the construction management firm, Kraus Anderson, has put together a full budget. Project costs are estimated at $20,553,782, which is $656,218 under budget.