While everyone is aware this is just a possibility, Golfers Organized for Little Falls (GOLF) said area golfers are excited at the idea of a new clubhouse at the Little Falls Country Club.
The idea of replacing the aging building, with issues such as some tiling being held down by duct tape, was originally raised by the Council during budget meetings last year, Mayor Greg Zylka said.
Then, at the April 2 meeting, the Council was informed by City Administrator Jon Radermacher that GOLF was willing to work with the community to put money into the project.
The organization was hoping that if it could raise $50,000, the Council would proceed with acquiring plans and a feasibility study for the clubhouse. If the project went forward, GOLF would work toward raising $200,000.
The Council decided it needed to know more about the idea and discuss it at a future meeting.
On Monday, GOLF President Paul Cameron and Men’s League President Robb Orr spoke with the Council about where they were with the plan.
When it was made aware of the possibility of the new clubhouse with a banquet facility, GOLF decided to gather pledges to show the city the golf community supported the idea, Cameron said.
In about a week, the group had received about $25,000 in pledges.
People want more details about a potential new clubhouse, Orr said.
He and Cameron were seeking a better idea of what the plan is.
For Zylka, any discussion of whether or not to move forward on this should be part of the budget discussions for 2019.
Originally there had been hope to move forward with this right away, Radermacher said. All parties are now looking to move more slowly on this.
“We’re ready to take a slow approach and have the details really well vetted before people are actually sharing their contributions with that organization (GOLF),” Radermacher said.
Councilman Gerry Knafla said he thought based on the previous discussion about this, that the $50,000 raised by GOLF would be used for architectural plans and the feasibility study.
Zylka didn’t want to put GOLF or the Council in the position of collecting funds, paying for the feasibility study and then the Council choosing not to move forward with the project.
“I think it is backward for you (GOLF) to raise $50,000 and then us take a vote on whether or not to move forward with it,” Zylka said.
Councilwoman Raquel Lundberg asked what GOLF members have been saying to those making the pledges.
GOLF has been clear with people that there is no guarantee that this would go forward, Cameron said.
The organization has also told people it will not collect money until the Council approves the project and they are ready to break ground.
“I don’t think we are under the impression that we would raise money to fund a set of drawings,” Cameron said. “We are interested in funding and helping build a building rather than supporting a plan.”
The next issue was how to come up with a plan for what the potential new building would be, whether it was simply a clubhouse or had additional uses, like a place to hold events.
Having GOLF’s help in developing a plan could be useful, as it could solicit donations for specific items within the building, Radermacher said.
In addition, one way the Council could come up with a plan is to present different options, some being what the city could cover and others that would require funding from the public, Radermacher said. The Council could then see what the public is willing to support.
The Council agreed to discuss at a future meeting the process of getting plans and a feasibility study, which could also contain studies on how much the new building would have to make to cover costs.
Little Falls City Council Briefs
In other business Monday, the Little Falls City Council:
• Approved allowing the Little Falls Fire Department to apply for a $2,500 grant from CenterPoint Energy toward the purchase of a $6,000 thermal imaging unit. The grant requires a 50 percent match;
• Approved applying for a wellhead protection grant from the Minnesota Department of Health for $1,726.99, which the city would match;
• Approved aa temporary on-sale beer and strong wine permit for the Dam Festival, June 15-16;
• Terminated a lease agreement with CHI St. Gabriel’s Health and Live Better, Live Longer (LBLL) for LBLL to lease Gamradt Park and use it as a community garden. The termination is due to LBLL soon dissolving;
• Approved a quote of $3,830 from Bob LeMieur Rolloffs Refuse and Recycling for spring leaf and brush collection. Staff is working with the company to determine the best date for collection due to the recent weather;
• Approved a quote of $29,331.65 from Linescape Linestriping for painting crosswalks, stop bars and other markings on streets throughout the city;
• Accepted a feasibility study for a project to install sewer and water service on Fifth Avenue Southeast from a point 420 feet east of LeMieur Street to a point 525 feet east of LeMieur Street. The Council also called for a public hearing to be held on the issue, Monday, May 21, at 7:30 p.m.;
• Approved the sale of $910,000 in bonds to Northland Securities at a net interest rate of 3.16 percent for 15 years to for ; and
• Directed staff to change a billboard advertising the city’s industrial park to advertise the Little Falls Country Club. There is no charge for this as the company owning the billboard provides the advertising in lieu of paying rent on the city-owned land the billboard sits on.
The next meeting of the Little Falls City Council is Monday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at Little Falls City Hall. A special work session and public forum will precede the meeting.