Thrusting the city into the somewhat unusual circumstance of being both applicant and adjudicator, the Scandia City Council last week signed off on a planned unit development application it will make with the Scandia Heritage Alliance in support of the proposed Scandia Arts & Heritage Center.
When submitted, the development application will go through normal city review processes, including a public hearing and review by the Scandia Planning Commission.
City Administrator Ken Cammilleri said in addition to the Heritage Center project, the application would address a number of non-conformities that currently exist on the city property, such as the skating rink, warming house and the T-ball field parking lot all sitting within the required setbacks.
Sue Rodsjo, president of the Heritage Alliance, told the council that the group had sought the advice of an acoustic engineer to address initial concerns about noise from the proposed outdoor amphitheater. The adjusted plans call for rotating the amphitheater so that more sound projects toward the open space around Gammelgarden Museum, instead of toward nearby homes.
The proposed Heritage Center is to be located on city land just south of the Scandia City Hall and Community Center. The project will include as its centerpiece the rebuilt Water Tower Barn as a museum/arts center, plus the amphitheater, patio and picnic areas, and a walking trail around the wetland areas.
The city has sought $1.5 million in state bonding grants for the project.
The council spent the latter half of its Aug. 4 meeting reviewing the city’s Capital Improvements Plan, a long-term document that informs the development of the city budget.
The plan includes $1,014,520 in city infrastructure improvements for 2022, a figure that includes $286,000 for broadband internet expansion, nearly $70,000 for a new HVAC system and other repairs at the Community Center, $59,800 for new playground equipment at the Community Center, $26,000 for an additional storm warning siren, and $572,000 for stormwater improvements in the Bliss neighborhood west of Big Marine Lake.
Cammilleri noted that the Bliss stormwater improvements are likely to cost the city far less because of a cost-sharing grant the city is seeking with the Carnelian-Marine-St. Croix Watershed District, possibly only 12.5% of the initial figure.
“The district feels it’s in a good place to score well in a grant application,” Cammilleri said.
Other big ticket items in the plan for 2022 include replacing the ditch mowing tractor and attachments ($172,640), a fire department grass rig ($72,800), a fire department rescue boat ($26,000), and the annual road improvements project ($915,000).
Cammilleri noted that the city is expecting to receive around $440,000 in federal funding due to the American Rescue Plan Act. The city will have until 2024 to spend those funds.
The city is about a month behind on developing its 2022 budget, Cammilleri said.
The next Scandia City Council meeting will be held Aug. 17 at 7 p.m.