By LeAnn R. Ralph
MENOMONIE — All things considered, the $1 million remodel of the Dunn County Government Center on Wilson Avenue is a “small project.”
Gene Smith, county manager, reported on the remodeling project at the Dunn County Board’s June 17 meeting, noting that the construction of The Neighbors of Dunn County to replace the old health care center cost $23 million, and remodeling the old health care center for community services cost $12 million.
Smith, who described the Government Center as a “small project,” said an architect has been retained, and the project has been let out for bids.
The remodeling project will include enhanced security throughout the building, he said.
On the lower level, Information Technology and land information, which are currently split for office space, will have one office area after the remodel, Smith said, noting that one wing on the lower level will remain empty for now.
On the ground level, the administrative offices will switch the location of a conference room so that it is easily accessible to other offices in the building. The Register of Deeds office will add a counter opening for security purposes, he said, noting that the county clerk’s office also will be remodeled.
The second floor will have some remodeling done as well in the corporation counsel’s office and the solid waste recycling division, Smith said.
The Dunn County Economic Development Corporation also is now renting office space from the county on the second floor at a cost of $1 per year. Renting from the county saves between $15,000 and $20,000 per year, and there will be no remodeling of that office space, he said.
The third floor of the government center will be extensively remodeled, Smith said,
Surveying, planning, zoning and land conservation offices will be located on the third floor, he said.
Menomonie City Hall will be remodeled, too, but that project is completely financially independent of the county and will not cost the county any money, Smith said.
Smith did not provide any information about when the remodeling work would be expected to start or when it might be completed.
In other business, the Dunn County Board of Supervisors:
• Approved for a first reading an ordinance amendment changing the investment policy for Dunn County. The amendment would grant the authority to make investments with the investment team, which would consist of the county manager, the county treasurer and the chief financial officer. Previously, the authority to make investments was granted to the administrative coordinator, who had the authority to delegate making investments to an investment officer.
• Approved additional easements and changes in easements at the Dunn County Recreation Park to accommodate the Gerrard/Dancing Oaks project. The resolution terminates the walking trail easement previously granted and grants a new easement over a utility easement, which will be terminated if Dancing Oaks ceases to be low-income tax credit residential housing. The resolution grants a temporary easement for grading and landscaping, and grants an easement for placing a culvert or drainage pipe for overflow onto Dunn County property.
• Granted a temporary easement to the City of Menomonie along Eighth Street to accommodate the relocation of the Menomonie Farmers’ Market. The traffic lane of Eighth Street will be moved slightly east toward the Government Center, and the sidewalk also will be moved to the east. The easement grants the right to the City of Menomonie to operate equipment in the removal of the existing sidewalk, construction of a new sidewalk and landscaping.
• Approved a lease agreement between Dunn County and the Dunn County Economic Development Corporation for use and occupancy of space in the Government Center on Wilson Avenue. Annual rent will be $1, with a ten-year term starting June 1, 2015, along with the option to renew for an additional ten years.
• Approved a lease agreement between Dunn County and the City of Menomonie for use and occupancy of space in the Government Center. The term of the lease is ten years, with the City of Menomonie having the option to renew for another ten years. Rent is payable annually in September. The rent for 2015 is $122,955.
• Approved rezoning property owned by Robert Hulbert in the Town of Menomonie from Residential (R1) to General Agriculture (GA).
• Approved for a second reading amendments to the Dunn County Zoning Ordinance, including changes to meet the requirements of the Wisconsin Farmland Preservation law; clarification and additional language for the location of energy and utility infrastructure, including adding energy generating facilities to a number of zoning districts to promote sustainability; standards for the limited ability to keep farm animals in residential districts; standards for agri-tourism and agri-entertainment, such as orchards, wineries, greenhouses and the sale of farm products. Agri-tourism will be a permitted accessory use in agricultural zoning districts.