City Center reaching skyward

Slowly but surely, the first wall of the Forest Lake City Center eased into place Monday afternoon. (Photos by Clint Riese)
Slowly but surely, the first wall of the Forest Lake City Center eased into place Monday afternoon. (Photos by Clint Riese)

First walls installed this week for new municipal building

Clint Riese
News Editor

Construction on the Forest Lake City Center entered its most visually stimulating stage this week, as Kraus-Anderson Construction workers on Monday hoisted the first precast wall into place. It was the first of many that will be installed by March, providing most of the $13.3 million building’s permanent look.

FR_CityCenter1“What you’ll see in the next month and a half is a lot of work going on,” Kraus-Anderson Project Manager Brett Baldry said. “As soon as we get roofing on, there will be more interior activity and you won’t see as much. We are at the exciting part now.”

The precast walls, which will make up 80 percent of the building’s exterior, consist of many panels assembled off-site and are dropped into place by crane. Steel stud walls will make up the rest of the exterior and be installed next month, with exterior brick laid in March.

Installation of the footings and foundation went well, according to Baldry. In approving the project in late 2012, City Council members raised concerns about how much soil correction would be needed, as the property’s ground has a history of settling.

“A good portion of the new facility goes over the old facility with the corrected material,” Baldry said. “Outside of that (area), it went a little smoother than anticipated.”

Also, a dry fall kept the soil in good working condition, Baldry said. Crews took two days off during last week’s near-record chill due both to safety policy and the inability of cranes to work in that cold of temperatures. Construction resumed over the weekend to make up for the lost time, and remains on schedule to finish around Oct. 1.

The Economic Development Authority on Monday approved the purchase of a monument sign that will sit near the entrance from Lake Street. Though final design details have not been finalized, it will likely be around 15 feet high and include a 32-square-foot LED message board.



  • Meanwhile the courts have yet to finalize if it’s even legally funded. This is possibly one of the greatest liabilities our arrogant mayor with his council majority have ever taken on.

    • Foodonastick

      A bit misleading Mr. Langness (imagine a perennially political candidate spinning an issue)

      Two courts have finalized their decisions in favor of the city but the losers keep appealing.

      I expect it will be appealed to the Minnesota Supreme Court by the plaintiffs ; at least after that appeal it should be 3 strikes and your out.

      Hopefully that will stop the drain of taxpayers money in the way of legal fees the city is spending defending their decision to build a new city hall

      • Guest

        Re: Cost to the taxpayer

        The Mayor chooses to spend close to $30,000,000.00, on an unnecessary municipal project, but because you are in favor of the project, you have no problem with this. Meanwhile you feign outrage over the thousands of dollars being spent on the litigation to defend such a decision which could have easily been avoided if The Mayor had chosen the statutorily appropriate funding mechanism (General Obligation Bonds).

        As the old saying goes, you’re stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime here. Actually in this case you are stepping over $435 to pick up your dime.

        • Foodonastick

          Assuming again; I’ve never indicated my support for a new city hall, only my belief that we elect people to make these decisions

          So far two courts have agreed with our city government (not just the mayor), but yet you continue to insist your on the high ground but the courts have said otherwise.

          I’m not looking for a dime, I believe in the principle that elections are the American way, not legislating by lawsuit.

          It is your opinion that the city hall is unnecessary, that’s fine, but imposing your will by lawsuit is a bit unsettling.

          Your personal bias against the mayor is showing when you single him out, it was the city council who approved the new city hall

          Strike two, one more to go

          • Guest

            I’m sorry – I forgot. You’re the guy (or gal?) who has never had an opinion about anything and whose words cannot be read to mean anything, because after all that would be assuming. Thank you for reminding me.

          • Foodonastick

            My opinion is you if you disagree with our elected leaders you unelected them not sue them
            I’ve consistently given my opinion; you’re the one that assumes I support building a new city hall
            The city hall isn’t my issue, my issue is using a lawsuit to bypass our elected city government

          • Guest

            Checks and Balances – do some reading. While you are at you might want to read up on why the district court doesn’t have the final say, and we in fact have an appeals process in our state/country.

          • Foodonastick

            Strike 2
            Some people just don’t accept no for an answer

            Usually children

  • FLRanger

    The Courts let the project proceed because the people suing did not prove the city government did anything wrong; it only continues because they appealed and most likely it will be appealed again to the MN Supreme Court

    Some could argue it is the people who are suing as the arrogant ones. When a final decision is made by the courts, it is very possible it will turn out the people suing are the ones who have done a disservice (and created an unnecessary expense) to (for) the taxpayers of FL.

    To be clear, I am no fan of the mayor, but I do believe elections matter and suing the city government because you don’t like decision they are elected to make, isn’t the solution. The solution is to elect someone else in the next election.

    As others have posted in the past, if the court rules in favor of the city, it is to bad the people suing the city won’t have to reimburse the Forest Lake taxpayers the wasted tax dollars spent defending the decision a duly elected city government made.
    I have to say I do think in general the mayor does have a very arrogant manner and I most likely will not be voting for him in the future.

    • Maybe the headline, “City Center reaching skyward” was referring to the debt the city has taken on.

    • John Freed

      FL Ranger, keep in mind that the city is only providing 20% of the legal cost. The balance is funded by the League of Minnesota Cities. The FL taxpayers, or which I am one, are allowing the city to waste a great deal more than their portion of the litigation costs on the excesses in this building.

      • FLRanger

        Thanks for the League info but the city pays a membership fee to The League and 20% is 20%. After hearing the Vikings stadium decisions, I do not believe the plaintiffs will not prevail. The stadium deal was challenged on a lot more fronts than our city hall, including the idea that the taxpayers should be allowed to vote on the Vikings stadium.
        Respectfully, the excesses are a matter of opinion and is a completely different issue than having a referendum on the new city hall.
        I expect Forest Lake will be considered nothing more than a suburb before to many years past. I do not believe the new city hall is anything over the top from my travels in the twin cities. I’ve been to suburban city centers that have full gyms, ice sheets, racquetball courts pools, state of the art meeting rooms, production studios etc.
        I would rather see are city officials make decision based on what is needed five, ten and fifteen years out rather than base their decisions on how the city looks today.

        • Wants and needs are two different things. Needs as example are fire and police. Wants are “full gyms, ice sheets, racquetball courts pools, state of the art meeting rooms, production studios etc.”
          Some of us, myself included, believe that wants are better served by private organizations that charge true user fees rather than subsidized by the taxpayers.

          • Guest

            Slow down Eric, now you are talking about capitalism, and we all know capitalism is evil.

    • The city had ample opportunity to avoid the lawsuit and they choose not to hold an election. Setting that aside, if the lawsuit goes through and finds the city at fault do you believe the city should reimburse the plaintiffs as well? I’m sure we can agree that lawsuit costs escalate quickly and might even agree that it is abused most often but isn’t it the only option the city gave to these citizens?

      • FLRanger

        Fair point on the reimbursement
        Although you ignore the point about elected officials are elected to make these decisions; if you don’t like their decision vote them out
        Also there was ample opportunity to fight the new city hall long before it was approved. As I recall it was discussed and debated for months (at various meetings) before its approval with barely a peep of opposition from anyone in the city.

        • FLRanger – You must be missing out a major premise of the lawsuit. The lawsuit is about if the city council/mayor do have the authority to do this without a vote of the public. I believe that state statute is on the side of the plaintiffs and you can reasonably conclude otherwise. What you’re missing is that they can debate it all they want but that doesn’t give them authority they do not have. This case will decide that once it’s gone the course through all the courts.

          • FLRanger

            You missed my comment/ the point below; the Vikings stadium deal was also challenged on the premise that the residents of Minneapolis should be allowed to vote if the city should help fund the stadium; that lawsuit was dismissed.

          • Guest

            The Vikings stadium was challenged among other things on a constitution basis. The suit regarding The Northland Mall Project makes no such claims. The two suits while similar in their requested resolutions (a vote of the people) have two very different sets of facts. Looking at the outcome of the Vikings Stadium litigation and attempting to predict the final outcome of the Forest Lake litigation is misleading.

          • Foodonastick

            part of the fight was the no public vote element

          • Guest

            Wow, thank you for enlightening me as to the incredible similarities between the two cases! You would think the person responsible for filing one of them would have known better.

            By this logic one might state – All legal matters are the same because they involve a court…

          • Foodonastick

            Remember the good old days when people posting here kept implying that the lawsuit was continuing on its own merit

            Some people need to be enlightened or better yet held accountable when they mislead

            I agree, you would think a person would know better

          • Guest

            Apparently sarcasm is lost on you also.