A “last minute hiccup” from Mn Dot means changes for the design of the entrances for the NAFRS (Northfield Area Fire and Rescue Service) building from Hwy 3. Since about 1996 there has been a drive over curb off Hwy 3 near 5th street that MnDot put in when they redid the road. During this week’s NAFRS Joint Powers Board meeting, Architect Dave Medin said 3 months ago, “we inquired about putting pavers in the area to dress the gravel a little bit and MnDot, after a month and a half, came back and said we never would’ve allowed that drive over curb and no you can’t”. That started a chain reaction of changes to the design in
that area as they rehab and add to the Fire Hall. Medin said, “what they did suggest and what we have drawn is a right in only access off Hwy 3 to get people into the back of the lot”. How helpful that is is yet to be seen. One plus is that it gets fire trucks out of any backed up traffic. There were several other changes that had to be done which is an additional $20,000 due to additional concrete and fill. Designs are on nafrs.org. Medin explained in detail the changes and the final design of the interior of the building. Member Paul Leibenstein was concerned about the cost of all glass garage doors and limestone facade. There was additional cost for epoxy in the lower floor of the building as a moisture barrier. Builder Steve Underdahl said the plan is to go out for bids on the $3.9 million project in January, award the bid in mid February. The bulk of construction would take place through Spring with a completion anticipated by Fall of next year. The Board discussed the financing and the lease agreement with Northfield, the contracts are also online. The original estimate was $3.2 million but with additional aesthetics and these changes have bumped up the cost.
Fairfield Inn update – they’re making progress
It was slow in the beginning but they’ve picked up traction. The Fairfield Inn and Suites on the corner of Hwy 3 and 2nd Street is taking shape. Charlie Kyte, who just recently joined Rebound Enterprises, said the first deck will be complete this week. He said they’ll then start building the hotel, going up a story every 10 days. By the end of January we should see the full structure of the building. Once that’s done, they’ll start buttoning it up to work through the Winter. Kyte said they’ll put plastic up and heat it for pouring concrete, etc. Once the building’s enclosed they can get a lot of work done. Kyte said they expect to be complete by the end of June, that’s a month later than originally planned. With the water issues they had, it pushed things back. With that it mind, Kyte said, they spent additional dollars for flood proofing the lower level, they put in a thicker slab and re-wrapped the building “very very tightly heavy duty plastic”. He said, “in a way, the basement of the building is like a bathtub”. The hotel is expected to be fully operational by mid Summer.
Hillmann says the community “gave us very clear feedback” regarding bond referendum
The Northfield School Board canvassed the Referendum and Operating Levy ballots on Monday. Superintendent Dr. Matt Hillmann thanked the community for passing the Operating Levy. Regarding the $109 Million failed bond issue, he said, “it’s one of the last instances of direct democracy, we ask the community a question and they give us an up or down and they gave us very clear feedback in terms of saying that the proposal we had in it’s current format is not quite ready yet”. The Board will be scheduling a work session in early December to discuss the outcome in more depth as well as what their next steps might be for the master facilities plan. Hillmann’s full interview is on kymnradio.net where he talks further about the referendum and what steps they might make.