Ground breaks for City Center

City officials and building professionals dig in at Monday’s City Center groundbreaking. From left: Kraus-Anderson project manager Brian Hook, Leo A. Daly’s Bill Baxely, Leo A. Daly’s Todd Lavold, EDA member Mike Muske, City Councilwoman Susan Young, Mayor Chris Johnson, Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius, EDA member Judy Huntosh, Police Chief Rick Peterson, Leo A. Daly associate Cindy McCleary, EDA member Bob Morehead, City Administrator Aaron Parrish, EDA member Blake Roberts and EDA member Ray Daninger. (Photos by Clint Riese)

City officials and building professionals dig in at Monday’s City Center groundbreaking. From left: Kraus-Anderson project manager Brian Hook, Leo A. Daly’s Bill Baxely, Leo A. Daly’s Todd Lavold, EDA member Mike Muske, City Councilwoman Susan Young, Mayor Chris Johnson, Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius, EDA member Judy Huntosh, Police Chief Rick Peterson, Leo A. Daly associate Cindy McCleary, EDA member Bob Morehead, City Administrator Aaron Parrish, EDA member Blake Roberts and EDA member Ray Daninger. (Photos by Clint Riese)

Work on $13.3 million facility commences this week; expected to take one year

 

Clint Riese
News Editor

A small mound of dirt in the middle of a large, pothole-ridden parking lot provided the backdrop for a major moment in Forest Lake history Monday afternoon. City officials, employees and residents, along with architects and engineers, converged on the former Northland Mall site to break ground for the Forest Lake City Center. According to projections, in one year construction will wrap up on the $13.3 million facility that will house the police and fire departments and city hall.

“(This project) represents the decision of the leadership of the city to take a significant step forward toward a future that we choose, as opposed to incremental steps from the status quo,” Mayor Chris Johnson said during a brief ceremony.

Police Chief Rick Peterson and Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius pose by vehicles from their departments on the site of their departments’ future home. The groundbreaking shovel Sigfrinius holds was used for the same task at the current fire station, which dates to 1970.

Police Chief Rick Peterson and Fire Chief Gary Sigfrinius pose by vehicles from their departments on the site of their departments’ future home. The groundbreaking shovel Sigfrinius holds was used for the same task at the current fire station, which dates to 1970.

The second-term mayor said the project, which currently is running about $2.6 million under its budget of $21.2 million, will bring about myriad benefits. The Economic Development Authority, which will lease the building to the city, is marketing outlots on the property for commercial development. Consolidating city functions in one location will also allow current city-owned property throughout town to be redeveloped, Johnson said. The site improvements and potential for state funding brought about by the project will allow for better treatment of stormwater draining into Clear Lake, he noted.

Johnson thanked former city officials, in particular former Mayor Ray Daninger, now an EDA member.

“If it wasn’t for the hard decisions they made in the past, we wouldn’t be able to be here making this decision,” Johnson said.

Digging in

Kicking off the project on Sept. 30 meant that the city will reach its first construction goal: having crews on the ground in early October.

Starting work this fall allowed the city to take advantage of favorable bids for winter construction. It also means the City Center could be completed by the end of next September.

Project manager Brian Hook, from the project’s construction management firm, Kraus-Anderson, said it is key to perform soil correction and pour the footings and foundation before the ground freezes.

He expects site preparation to begin this week and digging to commence next week. Above-ground work should be visible by Jan. 1, he said.

 

Mayor Chris Johnson provides opening comments at Monday’s City Center groundbreaking ceremony.

Mayor Chris Johnson provides opening comments at Monday’s City Center groundbreaking ceremony.

 

  • http://www.EricLangness.com/ Eric Langness

    The most arrogant mayor remains tied up in a city lawsuit because he wouldn’t let the people vote on this extraordinary public expense … and here he is playing with his golden shovel.

  • Shane Warnke

    Too bad John Berken isn’t there to donate a truck for this pivotal moment in Forest Lake history

  • Shane Warnke

    If Forest Lake is anything like I remember, I would assume it’s still debaucle of political corruption.

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