Osseo residents to work on grant application for North Water Tower

BY SUE WEBBER

CONTRIBUTING WRITER

 

An Osseo resident has agreed to work with several others to prepare a preliminary grant application for a consultant on the city’s North Water Tower.

City Administrator Douglas Reeder told the Osseo City Council Nov. 12 that Kathleen Gette, who spoke in favor of keeping the tower at an earlier meeting, will work on an application that, if approved, would allow a consultant to determine whether the water tower is eligible to be listed on the National Historic Register.

“They [the citizens group] are well along in their efforts,” Reeder said.

The application will be submitted in December, with a determination expected in January, according to Reeder.

The council also agreed to hear from representatives of the Minnesota Historical Society Nov. 25.

Reeder earlier said he and City Planner Riley Grams met with Becca Johnson, preservation specialist at the Minnesota Historical Society and Kelly Gregg-Johnson, review and compliance specialist at the state Historical Society, to go over potential problems and opportunities to get a grant to put the tower on the National Historic Register.

Reeder said then that several million dollars is available to cities each year from funds the State Historical Society receives from Minnesota’s Legacy Fund.

Osseo has been exploring options for the North Water Tower for some time. After a public hearing Oct. 14 to gain citizen input on the tower, the Council directed staff to get bids to remove the tower, but also to determine the availability of grants to repair the tank in order to keep it if it were designated on the Historic Register.

Reeder told the council Oct. 28 that KLM Engineering, Inc. has submitted a proposal that would provide all the services needed to have the tank properly and safely removed for $10,000.

The council agreed on Oct. 28 to put the KLM proposal on hold until after it hears from representatives of the state Historical Society Nov. 25.

Since no funds are budgeted to repair the water tower or remove it, Reeder said funding would have to come from the general fund balance, the water fund, be budgeted in some future year or be placed in a future Capital Improvement Program.

If the State Historical Society found that the water tower is eligible for inclusion on the Historic Register, the city then could apply for a grant by either July or October 2014 to have a consultant prepare the necessary application to have the water tower listed.

Approval, if granted, would come at the end of 2014, Reeder said earlier.

Even if the water tower is listed on the National Historic Register, the city is not obligated to take any action, Reeder said last month, though the city could apply for a grant to make improvements to keep the water tower in a safe condition.

If a grant were awarded, the water tower could be repaired in 2016, according to Reeder. Accepting a grant would obligate the city to maintain the water tower for at least 20 years if the grant were for more than $200,000.

In an earlier written report to the Council on the tower, Reeder said the tower “is no longer used as part of the water system and is in need of some repairs which could cost as much as $300,000 in the near future in order to preserve it in a safe manner.”

The tank also would require repainting every 15-25 years, Reeder said.

“Therefore, the 100-year cost of retaining the water tower could exceed $1 million,” Reeder said then.

Repairs will be required if the tower is not demolished within three to five years, Shawn Mulhern, marketing manager with KLM Engineering, Inc., told the council earlier.

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