City plans to upgrade buildings | News, Sports, Jobs
FAIRMONT– Before its regular meeting, Fairmont City Council held a working session on Monday to take stock of the City’s strategic plan. One of the focuses of the working session was ways to maintain and improve existing facilities in the city
“The main philosophy is to re-evaluate when we look at our goals,” said City Administrator Cathy Reynolds.
She shared that the plan was drawn up in April 2021 and will guide the preparation of the 2023 budget.
Reynolds went on to say that the first goal is to maximize the potential of the community, which includes updating the zoning code, community development software, supporting a range of housing options and promoting a vibrant downtown.
The second objective is to cultivate a culture of trust, effective communication and collaboration. The final objective is to improve and protect community amenities and infrastructure.
Reynolds said in talking to staff, they use the latter goal to define a philosophy of trying to focus on maintaining existing infrastructure rather than adding and building more.
To learn more about the latter objective, Jonathan Loose of Wold Architects and Engineers was on hand to review an assessment of Fairmont facilities. Wold said he looked at six different facilities at Fairmont and shared his findings with the board.
Loose shared some issues at City Hall, including water-damaged foundation walls, aging electrical distribution equipment and needed accessibility improvements. He said they also considered the balance between ensuring there are reasonable and accessible accommodations for the public and that staff feel safe and secure.
Fairmont Municipal Airport was also discussed. Loose shared that the toilets have not been updated since construction and are not accessible. Furnishings and finishes are also worn and outdated.
“It was originally designed for commercial airlines to come and go…there’s a lot of space there that’s no longer functional,” coward said.
He said they looked at how to reframe it as a community resource and incorporate sustainable design practices where possible.
Moving on to park structures, Loose spoke about the issues at both Sylvania Band Shell and Lincoln Park Shelter. Sylvania’s issues include rotting wood, stained and cracked stucco, and no accessible parking spaces.
“This piece needs to be addressed. You can’t rot it. He’s an icon and I strongly believe that piece of the puzzle needs to happen as needed or sooner.” said Council Member Bruce Peters.
Regarding the Lincoln Park Shelter, Loose said the entrance to the building was not accessible as one had to climb six steps to enter. Foundation walls are also cracking, windows need to be replaced and there is no air conditioning.
“We would really like to tackle heating, ventilation and air conditioning. There is a lot of work to be done.” coward said.
Other buildings reviewed by Architects and Engineers of the World are Southern Minnesota
Educational Campus and Martin County Arena. Although fines were not shared for the latter two, Loose said costs and long-term plans will need to be discussed for all facilities by the council.