‘Replace the space’ is BID Board’s message

By Jeff Smith

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The Business Improvement District (BID) Board is wanting to push the discourse in Hill City that they are not going to leave anybody out of space that clubs and organizations need.

Part of the discussion at the May 17 meeting was to talk about what is going to happen with the log building next to the Hill City Senior Center.

Doug Peters, BID Board member, said that they need to make sure to tell everybody that all existing space is going to be replaced.

“We really need to repeat that,” Peters said.

At the end of about a half-hour of discussion the result of what will happen was a motion that the intention of the group is to replace or enhance the existing space in the area with the log building with the senior center addition with a design yet to come.

It might be too much of a hassle to try and move the log building. The BID Board is going to see if there is much resistance to destroying the log building. Out of the $400,000 that is planned for the project there were funds set aside to move the log building.

But the focus of the project is also not the log building.

Rachel Taylor, BID Board member, told the group at the beginning of the discussion that the log building is aesthetically interesting and, as a logging community, it could be kept there.

“In some ways I think you leave it where it is and make it structurally sound,” Taylor said.

Dale Householder with the senior center said the log building will have to be moved or jogged out with the addition of the senior center. Householder said the two bottom logs are rotten, especially on the north and west side.

“The only feasible way would be to dismantle it log by log and then reassemble it, which could be quite expensive,” Householder said.

The group also talked about keeping the log building and adding it onto the expansion when it is done. Shane Schriner, BID Board member, said they could potentially build a short wall for the log building and it could be placed there. One consensus the group had was to have an L-shape building and keep the same amount of size that is there.

Brett McMacken, city administrator, said the BID Board can’t guarantee the outcome of what is going to happen.

Merlene Broer, with the Hill City Evergreen Garden Club, said they need a cold area to soak wreaths and then another place to put together the wreaths. 

The problem that might come up later is not the space of the building but how it functions. Each of the groups have storage space they want to keep there too.

The Hill City Senior Center has looked into a Community Development Block Grant. The grant could be issued only twice a year. McMacken said if they were to go that route there could be more red tape and the project could be prolonged. Right now, the city is in control since the funding mechanism is the $2 occupation tax that is going to be collected from local lodging establishments.

Householder said the proposal at this stage is to add a 30 x 30 ft. room that would be an extra meeting room, a new storage room and an addition to their kitchen at the Hill City Senior Center.

There will also be an addition of bathrooms with three stalls in the men’s bathroom and three in the women’s bathroom. The Hill City senior center will also have a new ADA-accessible entrance.

McMacken said in creating a punch list of needs and wants they will create a design plan.

Some BID Board members wanted a simple sketch in order to have something to show and explain at the meeting. McMacken said whoever does a sketch he would like to be the person that would work with the city throughout the entirety of the project.

“Because this is a city building I’m going to be adamant we do it properly with professional construction plans,” McMacken said

Schriner said with the other addition to make up for the log building they need to see if they want to cut something or if there will be an increase in the cost needed.

Schriner said a whole new addition would change the cost.

“It’s quite a bit different from the scope we had to start with,” Schriner said.

McMacken said when estimates come in for different items for the project the BID Board needs to determine if they’re OK with the costs.

McMacken said they are going to have to talk about if they are OK with the amount of the project jumping up or if they are going to have to trim some items. The senior center has already provided plans but another step would be coming up with someone to design everything.

McMacken said there is enough information right now to go ahead with design work. He also said the designer can come up with a first draft and then the BID Board can talk about what they like and dislike about it.

The BID Board made a motion to create a design that incorporates all the existing use of space of the log building area.

The Board is also ready to engage a designer and then the common council will be kept up to date with what is happening.

McMacken said on asphalting the alley he met with Kale McNaboe, city engineer, to talk about the different items the city would like.

On site of the alley, they discussed the different elevation changes and concerns with drainage behind the senior center and where restrooms will line up the rest of the buildings.

He’s going to put together a plan to talk about the estimate of the cost and components to address all of the different needs of the alleyway.

After his proposal comes in, the BID Board could amend parts of his plan if there are less funds that they decide to spend on that aspect of the project.

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