Holding onto hope that the Downtown Square pavilion structure can still be built in time for the Ox Cart Days Festival in August, At Large Crookston City Council Member Wayne Melbye on Monday was able to convince his colleagues to discuss and subsequently approve construction of a scaled-back pavilion, a little more than a week after a more elaborate design elicited quotes from two contractors that were around $50,000 higher than the previously approved $100,000 budget maximum for the structure.
The original plan for Monday evening was to discuss what next steps to take with the pavilion at the council's Ways & Means Committee meeting, which followed the council meeting. But that would have set the timeline back another couple weeks or so, something Melbye was hoping to avoid. So near the end of the council meeting, he asked if the council would be violating any policies or statutes if it discussed the pavilion and took action, even though it was not on the agenda. When no one raised any red flags, the discussion commenced, and a quote from DeBoer Builders of $66,655 to build a scaled-back structure was approved, with the option of adding change orders to the project later on that add features and functionality, as long as the total cost doesn't exceed $100,000.
Ward 6 Council Member Tom Vedbraaten, continuing to express concerns about the city not owning the Downtown Square property and continuing to say that most people he talks to aren't in favor of constructing the pavilion, was the lone vote against the motion made by Ward 2 Council Member Dana Johnson and seconded by Melbye.
Later in the evening, at the committee meeting, the council and Mayor Dave Genereux endorsed Ward 1 Council Member Tom Jorgens' recommendation that a task group be formed to monitor the construction process and discuss any potential change orders.
Shift in strategy
The previous plan was, had the earlier quotes come in over budget, to trim some amenities and elaborate characteristics from volunteer designer Robert Gustafson's pavilion plans and specifications. But it was impossible to cut $50,000 from his concept, so Wes Cameron at Crookston Building Center provided a sketch of a scaled-back version that could be constructed for much less, Melbye said. Then, he explained, instead of trimming the budget to get within the budget parameters, functionality and amenities could be added to get push the $66,655 building closer to the $100,000 ceiling.
Building Official Matt Johnson is still going to need some time to, once the sketch becomes an actual, professional drawing, make sure everything is within code. But Melbye said it's still possible the structure could be built in time to be used during Ox Cart Days, although he said the world won't end if it's not quite ready.
Page 2 of 2 - "We've been at this for a long, long time," he said. "People are just saying we need to get on with it. We need to show the community that we can do something here. We could have built Rome by now."
The revised pavilion, 24 x 60 feet in size, will feature windows and several roll-up type of doors that will give it an open-air feel when need be, but also close it up when need be. The scaled-back version currently won't have electricity or insulation, but Melbye said there will be conduit for wiring and space for insulation to be added. It will have a concrete slab, but no apron for vehicles; that said, there will be a drive-through door on each end.
Ward 5 Council Member Dale Stainbrook voted in favor, but he expressed his desire before the vote to step back, take a little time and make sure everything is done right in advance of potentially unveiling the pavilion in the spring of 2014. "I'm not saying let's not move forward, but I"m saying let's do it right," he said.
Quanrud voted in favor as well, but he echoed many of Stainbrook's sentiments. Quanrud said he doesn't think the pavilion will be ready by the festival even in the best-case scenario, so he urged everyone to take a deep breath and take their time.
Melbye said DeBoer Builders indicated they could build the structure in time for Ox Cart Days. "That's their intent, but I'm not saying it's going to happen," he said. "The intention is to finally get this off our plate and get something nice done that the community can use."