With major bids in, City Center cost firms

Total project estimated at $18.76 million


Clint Riese
News Editor

With action taken by the Economic Development Authority Monday night, the Forest Lake City Center project is essentially bid out. Besides future change orders, that means the total cost can be estimated with confidence.

The authority approved spending approximately $1.1 million on furniture, fixtures, equipment and technology for the city hall and public safety building. Deemed the final substantive items by City Administrator Aaron Parrish, those purchases put the total project estimate at $18.76 million. Bond proceeds, the project’s main funding source, totaled $21 million, leaving approximately $2.45 million available.

The EDA also approved the third payment for the project, in the amount of $105,013. Of the construction contract for $12.73 million, $1.05 million has now been paid. Those figures also represent that, as of the billing date of Dec. 31, nearly 9 percent of construction work had been completed.

Stormwater component

The city received more positive news regarding the City Center last week. A joint project of the city and the Rice Creek Watershed District won a grant worth $382,000 from the Minnesota Board of Soil and Water Resources. The project will consist of biofiltration basins and a stormwater sedimentation pond at the City Center that will treat stormwater runoff before it enters Clear Lake. Runoff from a large area of the city has long drained through the area of the former Northland Mall property, so the improvements will have a wide impact.

Hoping to receive the grant, the city last year chose not to include the stormwater project in the City Center budget.

“There was some concern a few months ago that that was being referred to as Phase 2 and wasn’t going to be part of this project,” Mayor Chris Johnson said at Monday’s EDA meeting. “I think the good news is we played our cards right and were able to get the grant and now not only are we treating the water on the site of the project, but now water from off the site is going to be treated and significantly improve the water quality of Clear Lake.”