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Perham council updated on construction proposals

Perham Area Community Center Board Member Rich McCrady gave the Perham City Council a look at tentative plans for renovating and upgrading the 29-year-old facility at their October meeting Monday evening. Brian Hansel/FOCUS

Details of two construction projects, one coming up for a Nov. 6 vote by city residents and the other long overdue, were heard Monday night at the October meeting of the Perham City Council.

Members of the Perham Area Community Center Board were present to give council members a look at the proposed renovations to the 29-year-old facility. The city owns the building itself but the Perham-Dent School District and the PACC Board share in the maintenance of it.

At Monday’s meeting, PACC Board Member Rich McCrady had blueprints and pictures showing the conception of Phase 1 of an improvement project.

The question will be put up for a vote and if approved, a half-cent local option sales tax will be imposed until $5.2 million is collected. Using a sales tax is expected to spread the cost of improvements over a broader number of users who visit and shop in Perham. The tax will be applied to all items subject to the state’s general sales tax. It would not apply to groceries, clothing prescriptions, vehicle sales and other non-taxable items.

In addition to the sales tax, which is expected to generate $3.4 million for actual construction costs, the board would like to generate additional revenue with grants, fundraisers and sponsorships.

McCrady broke the estimated cost of Phase 1 into four parts:

Hard construction, both major and minor remodeling of the PACC, tops the four expenses at $3,031,080. It would include major insulation work and a 7,000 square foot expansion.

A capital repair and replacement project would cost an estimated $1,719,000. At the present time, the ceiling of the pool area needs replacing.

“We could save half the money we spend in the pool area,” McCrady said.

The PACC board would also like to update pool equipment and add air conditioning throughout the facility.

The board is looking at adding a Kid’s Playland, updating exercise machines and equipment and building a climbing wall to the tune of $478,000.

PACC Director Betty Murphy addressed the council on the need for a Kid’s Playland, which would allow the parents of young children to leave them in a secure and supervised area while they used the PACC’s facilities.

“That the one area of the PACC we’re really weak in,” Murphy told the board.

Soft construction costs would come to an estimated $475,000.

“The building is 8-10 years behind where is has to be,” McCrady told the board.

If the vote is approved, the Minnesota State Legislature would need to grant special legislation authorizing the tax. If approved during the 2019 legislative session, construction would begin in the fall of 2019.

Following a state statute requiring a public hearing, the council gave members of the community a chance to ask questions about the Second Avenue SW project as it was presented by City Engineer Jade Berube.

The infrastructure project will address water and sewer needs of a system that is around 50 years old. The Second Avenue SW job has been a capital improvements project since 2007 according to Berube.

The cost of the project is estimated at $2,695,000. Of the total amount, $1,698,000 would be picked up by the city leaving $997,000 assessable to property owners.

Berube said bids for the project could go out in the spring of 2019. Construction work would not be finished until the fall of 2019.

The council approved a resolution accepting Berube’s report and ordered plans and specifications for the street project.

The council also approved a joint resolution for orderly annexation with Perham Township for a parcel owned by Hanzon Properties of Little Pine Lake on which Zorbaz Restaurant is located.

The Committee of the Whole meeting will be held Oct. 31 at 5:15 p.m. The next regular city council meeting is set for Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 5:15 p.m.

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