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Wells selling old bank building

By Staff | Mar 31, 2019

The former Paragon Bank building in Wells is being sold by the city to the Wells Assembly of God church.

The City of Wells is working on several improvements throughout the city as spring begins, and made more progress in their March 25, meeting to tie up projects from last fall.

One of their projects was to put in an air conditioning unit for the old Paragon Bank building, and to the delight of the council during the meeting, they approved a resolution for the purchase of the building.

Resolution 2019-09 was introduced to the City Council during their meeting stating the Wells Assembly of God is desirous of purchasing the property for a sale price of $65,000. The council approved the resolution unanimously after just a few clarifying questions.

One of those questions was the conversation on the air conditioning unit. Originally, the council was going to tackle the large AC?unit in the summer of 2018, but by the time the city received quotes on unit replacements, it was already late September.

City administrator CJ Holl stated the city would continue to purchase and replace the building’s air conditioning unit as the council had proposed to do before the sale of the building.

“We always intended to get that fixed, buyer or not,” says Holl. “Of course, we expected any buyer would want a functional system.”

The installation of a new 20-ton air conditioning condenser unit at the bank building, which includes new outside condenser, expansion valves and refrigerant, comes to a sum of $14,900.

Another project getting checked off the council’s to-do list is the addition of football lights for Thompson Park’s baseball and softball fields.

Originally, the city’s Park Board looked at purchasing completely new lights for Thompson Park, but that came at a cost of over $200,000. After more investigating, the Park Board sought to move the old USC?football field lights at a cost of approximately $113,000, which included new LED lighting heads, which were in need of replacement. There were also concerns about the ability to climb the lighting structures, which could create a hazard.

Holl informed the City Council that Albert Lea’s high school football field lights were up for sale for a mere $5,300 for the poles, transformers, and speakers, all of which were fully operational. Park Board member Scott Linde applied for, and received, a $2,500 grant from Benco Electric to help cover the cost. According to Holl, additional cost for acquisition may be covered by other civic groups.

Both Wells Concrete and Wells Public Utilities have already offered to help with engineering advice and assistance with electrical, including transformers.

The Albert Lea School called the city after they heard they were looking at moving lights and asked if the city wanted to look.

Holl shared with the council there would be additional cost to the initial $5,300, but would still have working lights and solid poles at a fraction of what the city was looking to pay for lights at Thompson Park, which will allow night games and will add to the number of games that can be held at Thompson Park’s ball fields.

The council also received some important news on their Wells Municipal Airport lighting project. City engineer Travis Winter shared the city received a grant for $248,694 from the state, a 95 percent share cost with the city for a $261,783 project. Winter stated the city would pay $13,089 of the lighting project.

The city has already provided the state with plans, specifications, and a detailed description of the airport improvement project. They have until 2022 to complete the project, which Winter says will begin as soon as conditions allow.

That is where the airport has faced a hiccup.

During the massive melt of snow, the city’s drainage ditches were frozen, causing a flood in the interior of the airport’s building causing some water damage. Though the city does not know the full price of the damages, the League of Minnesota Cities agent in contact with Holl stated the city is covered and to get things fixed.

“I’m not expecting the costs to be significant,” shared Holl with the council. “There was approximately three feet of drywall on interior walls that needed to be cut out, as well as flooring and painting that needs to be replaced. There is also some basic furniture that needs replacing as well.”

Either way, the Wells Municipal Airport will have a new look and new lights by this fall.

In his portion of the meeting the city engineer also shared the status of Wells’ Sixth Street project, which he said will be completed this year.

“We have had some reports of soft driveways after the winter thaw, so we will look into those, but besides that, things held up well over the winter and we will be looking to finish that project up.”

Winter reported the Third Street project is complete, and the Wells Business Park project just has to cross some T’s and dot some I’s before it is entirely complete.

The council also were given the opportunity to look at some options for the wall on Main Street where the Bidne building once stood. The bare wall is in need of some covering, and the council discussed vertical steel and horizontal vinyl siding options for it, as well as the potential for decorative stone to be laid on the bottom portion of the wall as well.

“This is input only. We want to look at options on design first, then we can split hairs later on cost,” Holl said to the council.

In their meeting, the Wells City Council also:

Witnessed three local Wells Community Ambulance Service members Captain Kristy Neubauer, and crew members Mandy Root and Meridee Strouf receive EMS?Lifesaving Awards from Mark Griffith of the EMS Ambulance Service, for saving the life of street foreman Mike Pyzick after he suffered a major heart attack.

Approved a Significant Industrial User (SIU) Agreement with Brakebush Brothers, Inc. with regard to the volume of wastewater Brakebush generates.

All cities are required by the state to have an SIU in place to monitor discharges with such large capacities. Brakebush installed a pre-treatment system recently to not only meet limits, but take care of a problem they caused, which were essentially fats and oils that were being washed down the drain and ending up in the city’s treatment system.

Wells Public Utilities had to clean out the ponds and clean out the filters at the water treatment plant several times.

“Brakebush has been fantastic to work with,” said city administrator Holl. “They paid Wells Public Utilities for the cost of the cleanup and installed the pre-treatment to ensure that the problems do not happen in the future. It was a significant investment in their Wells plant.”

Passed Resolution 2019-07, approving a Minnesota Lawful Gambling Exempt permit for the Wells Fire Department.

Accepted the resignation of part-time officer Evan Brown, and approved the search for a new part-time officer for the city of Wells.