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Chisholm planning new public safety building

Chisholm City Hall. (file / News Tribune)

The city of Chisholm is continuing to work on plans to construct a new public safety building, but the idea to sell the City Hall building is off the table for the near future.

Chisholm has selected Kraus Anderson as the developer for a new building to jointly house its police and fire departments, Mayor Todd Scaia said. The Chisholm City Council has narrowed down the location options to two properties in the Chisholm Industrial Park and a third property near the arena, Scaia said.

"We are still assessing several locations. That project is continuing to move forward," Scaia said.

Scaia said the city hopes to break ground this year. He added that once a site is chosen, the council will focus on fitting the two departments together on the spot and figure out a budget for the project.

"Once we get that, we will have to pare it down to figure out how much of a building we can afford," he said.

The city had been planning to construct a new City Hall building to better meet the needs of the city government than its current century-old City Hall. But building woes that arose last year at the nearby fire hall added an urgency for finding a new home for the city's public safety departments, too. A routine cleaning of the fire hall's garage floor ended with the floor's concrete breaking away in pieces, creating a hole. The city had to temporarily house its fire trucks in the Chisholm school district's bus garage until the floor was repaired.

However, a lack of space at the existing fire hall was a concern long before the floor issue. The city must custom order its firetrucks to fit in the existing space, at a cost of an additional $50,000 to $60,000 per truck.

The city decided to put a new City Hall building on the back burner last year in light of the fire hall's problems. At this point, the council's focus is on providing a new home for its public safety departments, Scaia said.

"We're also going to be doing a master plan to see in the future if there's any other necessities for the joint public facility building, for instance, City Hall, maybe a community center," he said.

To build a new City Hall, the city had entered a lease-purchase agreement for its existing building with Ironbound Studios Minnesota in October 2015. However, the city began default proceedings with Ironbound in March after the film studio fell into arrears for the second time since it began renting the space. Ironbound owed the city $13,800 as of Feb. 22 and Scaia said last week that the city hasn't received any payments from Ironbound for the amount owed.

Ironbound said in a statement in March that the lease-purchase agreement with the city involved "promises by both parties to perform certain acts set forth in the agreement" and that Ironbound "has and will continue to perform its obligations set forth in the lease agreement."

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