Published on Wednesday, 30 November -0001 00:00
At its March 16 meeting, Heritage House of Kimball presented its plans for a new building to expand its operations. Owners Jim and Kathy Birchem, managers Joyce and Doug Quast, and architect Michael Trossen presented architectural plans that include a proposed community clinic space, 16 1-bedroom apartments, and four 2-bedroom apartments in the new assisted living building. Heritage House currently has space for 18 residents in private and semiprivate rooms. They have been full for more than a year. Their research found that our area needs about 30 assisted living units. Heritage House is pursuing a grant for community services development, and has asked for the support of the Kimball city council (including TIF financing where a portion of their property taxes on the new building would be deferred for 15 years). Heritage House expects that the expansion will add about 20 jobs in the area, not counting the clinic and pharmacy they hope to have there. (About 2,700 square feet in the new building is allocated for clinic space. They could lease this space to a physician. The clinic and pharmacy would be open to anyone in the area, not just to Heritage House residents.) The first step in the process, before ground is broken, will be to get approval from the MPCA (Minnesota Pollution Control Agency) for the construction of another 20 residential units in Kimball. The city's sewer capacity should be able to handle the addition, but it could delay other projects such as a hotel or industry. Storm water runoff may be another issue says the city's engineer. City Hall renovations continue Renovation of Kimball's historic city hall have entered the next phase: indoors. Several layers of false ceilings were removed Monday night (by volunteers from the Kimball Lions) revealing the very high ceilings of the original hall. The still-intact tin ceiling will be repainted. Lighting and fans will be installed, suspended from the high ceilings. A new heating and cooling system also is being installed at city hall, hot-water radiators for heat, and forced-air vents for cooling. Ceiling fans throughout the main hall will help air circulation too. At some point, the library will need to be closed for about a week during this process. Legal action approved against Kuechle Underground The city's attorney advised the city to pursue legal action against contractor Kuechle Underground. Kuechle was the general contractor on the 2006 Magnus Johnson and Linden Avenue street improvement project for the city of Kimball. Bad concrete provided by a subcontractor on the project resulted in sidewalks and driveway aprons that do not meet industry standards and will need to be replaced far sooner than would normally be expected. Because of the contract, the city cannot pursue the subcontractors responsible; they need to pursue the general contractor who can then go after the subcontractors. According to the resolution passed unanimously by the city council March 16, Kuechle Underground is declared to be in default of their contract with the city. A "tolling agreement" will be negotiated to give everyone time to find a solution outside of court. Should this fail, the next step is litigation (suing Kuechle Underground). According to the city's engineer, the concrete in question had a 90-percent failure rate. Other action Matt Knaus and Son of a Butcher's Bar will start a summer volleyball league that will play in Willow Creek Park. Mayor Tammy Konz met with the engineer this week to discuss Stimulus Package options for the city. Twenty-four fire hydrants on Hazel Avenue and in Greely Edition need work because of a manufacturer's warranty issue. The bad parts will be replaced under warranty. The water tower needs to be repainted this summer. The council continues to consider alternatives for housing the police and the library. Options include purchasing the old St. John's Lutheran Church building, purchasing Arnold's Inc. office building (behind Main Street Pub), or adding on to the fire hall on the north end of town. The only action taken so far on any of these alternatives is studying the situation. The next meeting of the Kimball city council is Monday, April 6. Meetings are open to the public, and anyone may attend. If you have an issue to be presented to or discussed with the Kimball city council, please call the city clerk at 398-2725 to be placed on the agenda. A limited "open forum" time is provided at each meeting.