Almost $950,000 in upgrades to rest rooms at one of the city's busiest parks and to City Hall lhave earned the Northfield City Council's approval.

The council last week authorized the preparation of plans and specifications for the nearly $834,000 City Hall project and approved a $108,000 budget amendment to the park fund, after the cost of the Oddfellows Park project increased from $100,000 to $208,000. The price jump was due to its expanding scope along with material and labor costs substantially increasing since the capital improvement plan was greenlighted. 

Prior to council approval, Northfield Facilities Manager Jayson Dwelle presented the updated plans with Nancy LaRossoriere with ASTR, the architecture firm the city is working with on the projects.

Planned City Hall improvements include the layering of security and separation through partition walls, addition of electronic card access to City Hall doors, and introduction of video monitoring and access control to a few departments. The city plans to add furniture to provide a service area for the public and permanent glass barriers between staff and customers. The changes would allow interior doors to be locked down. Two doors are to be added on the parking lot side of the Council Chambers behind the dais to provide a quick exit for the mayor and council members, should the need arise. A centralized information desk is planned for the Community Development department on the first floor. A digital building directory will be installed on the first floor.

On the second floor administrative area, a camera and buzzer will be introduced. A wall will be moved to ensure more waiting area space. LaRossoriere noted City Hall is a former school building and that construction will also include tiling over existing tile to make the building appear more suited for its current use.

Currently, all departments have keyed public access doors. However, only the Department of Motor Vehicles and Engineering Department have service counters separating the public and staff. All other departments have direct access to staff areas. There is limited facility electronic card access. However, all departments have had temporary shielding during the pandemic.

A majority of project funding ($746,614) is scheduled to come from coronavirus local recovery funding and city reserves. According to the city, $35,600 will come from the motor vehicle fund and $51,600 from sanitary/storm/water/garbage revenue.

Oddfellows Park

Bathroom repairs were seen as necessary at Oddfellows Park on Forest Avenue. Dwelle noted the presence of holes in the stucco and roofing materials falling out. The project also includes replacing all four doors to the bathrooms and siding. 

Due to the cost, Behrendt said officials initially discussed pushing back replacing the asphalt at the Riverside Park pickleball courts until 2022 but opted to take $108,000 from capital reserves to fund the upgrade yet this year.

Councilor Suzie Nakasian said the projects were “very much” needed. Fellow Councilor Brad Ness noted the community support for completing the pickleball project this year.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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