Council spins wheels on center

Downtown ‘Super Valu building’ brought back into discussion

By Per Peterson

What started out as a conversation about awarding a Request For Proposal for a new senior/community center Monday turned into a heated discussion that not only questioned the need to spend $84,400 on a design study but brought back into play the option of using the former Super Valu building for a new center.

The City Council on March 8 passed a resolution authorizing a release of a design RFP for a new center that included four components: full feasibility of the final two building options; community engagement; full design of one final building option; and a request for assistance with funding options. The City received 16 proposals by the April 30 deadline, and it was decided to award the RFP to ISG because it had a known, maximum fixed cost.

However, the nature of the discussion turned when Mayor Pam Cooreman brought up the Super Valu building and councilmember George Landuyt questioned why the City should spend more than $84,000 on a study. The City has earmarked $144,000 from its Capital Project Fund to put toward the project.

“When I read this, I thought to myself, ‘That is one of the stupidest things I ever heard of — spending that kind of money for designing and putting together surveys and stuff for a building,’” Landuyt said.

Councilmember Jeri Schons agreed with Landuyt about spending that much money for an RFP. At the same time, she was adamant about keeping the process of building a new center going.

“We need to start to work together as a community towards this project, because we keep beating our heads against the wall,” Schons said.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.