BY SUE WEBBER
Becca Johnson, preservation specialist at the Minnesota Historical Society, updated the Osseo City Council Nov. 25 on the process involved in getting the city’s North Water Tower on the National Register of Historic Places.
Several million dollars is available to cities each year from funds the State Historical Society receives from Minnesota’s Legacy Fund, Johnson said.
The Legacy Amendment adopted by the Minnesota Legislature in 2008 provides that a portion of the funds from the state sales tax goes into the Legacy Fund, and the Historical Society gets a percentage of that money for legacy grants, Johnson said. The grants do not require a match, she said.
Kathleen Gette, an Osseo resident, earlier agreed to work with several others to prepare a preliminary grant application for a consultant on the water tower.
The application is due Jan. 1, 2014, with a determination expected in early March, Johnson said.
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.
City Administrator Douglas 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 on 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 of 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. The tower would have to be on the National Register of Historic Places before grants would be approved to do the necessary repair work.
In 2014-15, the state Historical Society was given $11 million to use for grants, and $1.5 million has been assigned so far, Johnson said. Applicants may request a grant amount up to $350,000.
“If the city gets a grant, you sign a 20-year letter agreeing to maintain it and not affect the integrity of the property,” Johnson said. If the city uses its own money, it would be free to do what it wishes with the property, she said.
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 the city tore the tower down after it was listed on the National Historic Register, it would be taken off the Register, Johnson said.
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.
A water tower in the city of Elk River has recently been listed on the National Historic Register, according to Johnson.
“It’s very similar in design to yours,” she said, adding that Elk River received a $7,000 grant.
The entire process of applying to have the tower listed and requesting grant money could take about two years, Johnson said. Applications go from the state Historical Society to the state Review Board and then to the National Park Service for review, she said.
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.
In other news, the council adopted a resolution recognizing the accomplishments of the 2013 Osseo High School Orioles football team, which finished the regular season with a 7-0 record. The resolution noted that the Orioles got into the state tournament after defeating Prior Lake in Class 6A Section Northwest Suburban Conference West Division championship game, but lost to Totino-Grace in the state quarterfinal game and ended the season with a 9-2 overall record.
The Orioles state tournament bid was its first since 1993.
The resolution proclaimed Monday, Nov. 25, as Osseo Orioles Football Day and extended “sincere congratulations and thank you to all players, coach Derrin Lamker and other coaches, team managers, athletic trainers, cheerleaders, cheerleading advisors and families for an outstanding season and for representing Osseo Senior High School, the city of Osseo and the Osseo area.”
“You can really feel the excitement around the area in the city on game day,” said Bob Fischer, president of the football boosters club. The restaurants start filling up in the late afternoon. It’s fun for the guys on the team, the coaches and the staff.
Three football players – Martin Olson, Andrew Lanners and Cameron Kelly – were with Fischer at the City Council meeting.
“It is an honor to play for Osseo,” Kelly said. “We all came together as one, and we had a great season.”
In other action, the council:
• Discussed a preliminary development agreement for 5 Central, Phase II. The 5 Central project is at the corner of Central Avenue and 5th St. NW, directly across the street from City Hall and the Police Department. The draft, completed by real estate attorney Laura Krenz of the Lindquist & Vennum law firm, was presented at the Nov. 12 Economic Development Authority meeting and at the Nov. 18 Planning Commission meeting.
“Since the Nov. 12 EDA meeting, staff continues to work with the Beard Group to determine the amount of city financing needed for this project,” said a memo to the council from City Administrator Douglas Reeder. “We are now working on alternatives which include the police building and/or more apartments. More apartments would require the purchase of the Tim’s Quality Plumbing building.”
Reeder said a preliminary development agreement is expected on Dec. 9 and final development agreement approval is expected on Jan. 13, 2014.
According to City Attorney Loren Magsam, the project is expected to start Oct. 31, 2014, and be completed on Oct. 31, 2015.
“This gives you an idea what the developer has in mind,” Magsam said. “We will have something more concrete in December and final approval in January.”