Upcoming groundbreaking for new Manor has been a long time coming

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Earlier this year Granite Falls Hospital Chief Executive Officer and General Manager George Gerlach commented that the long and slow process necessary to move forward with the construction of a new Manor has been like slogging through sand. A resolution passed during this week’s Granite Falls City Council meeting, however, will see the footing firm up considerably, appropriately allowing for a groundbreaking before the end of the month.
On Monday, council members unanimously approved a bid of $8,416,149 by Kraus-Anderson Construction, of Bloomington, to build the city’s new Manor on an 8.1 acre plot of land situated adjacent to Granite Ridge Place. Financed through USDA Rural Development, the project will replace original structures that date back to 1948 and 1959.
Gerlach pointed out that the bid is roughly $80,000, or one percent, over the amount budgeted for the Manor, and also noted that at one point the difference between the proposal and project costs were closer to $880,000. For a time, Gerlach said the hospital board was having to cut back, but eventually located financing a USDA supplementary funding program that would allow for the project to be implemented as originally designed.
In a separate action item, council members approved additional project expenditures of $269,493 to be financed, along with any other additional costs, by up to $600,000 in supplemental funding.
“Basically, we're going ahead as far as I'm concerned,” said Gerlach. “We still have a bunch of hoops to jump through with the USDA [supplemental funds]. But we'll jump through those hoops and get the funding that we need.”
A groundbreaking for the project has been scheduled for Tuesday, August 26 at 2:00 p.m.

In other news:
In related action items, the council awarded bids for the 2014 Street and Utility Improvement project while also approving the sale of General Obligation Bonds to finance the work.
With a low bid of $1,137,521, Hjerpe  Contracting, of Hutchinson, was awarded the street and utility project at a rate  approximately $280,000 below engineering estimates. The project will consist of: Sewer and water replacement on 5th Ave., 2nd Street and 3rd Street; GF Manor utility and street extension; and Sanitary Sewer Replacement south of the Legion.
The council also approved the $2.510 million 15-year G.O. Bonds, with just over a million dollars in interest costs, to finance the street and utility improvements, as well as the following projects: Landscaping at the site of the old waste water treatment plant; additional pedestrian bridge rehabilitation costs; handicap ramp construction and water main relocation; and purchases of electrical equipment.
• In an effort increase usage and potentially additional funding sources, council members followed the recommendation of GF Park Board members and adopted a resolution in support of an application to the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission that would designate Memorial Park as a park of regional significance.
According to council information, if approved, additional funding opportunities could become available through the Park and Trails Legacy Grants Program.
• On a like matter, council also approved an expenditure of around $7,000 to develop a Master Plan for Memorial Park.
• A council resolution again retained David Hammerschmidt as the city’s assessor at a rate on par with last year’s $30,000.
• A letter of concern in regard to a residential property drafted by local attorney Jeremy Blackwelder moved the council to direct City Housing Inspector Darin Haslip to perform a formal inspection of the residence located at 275 5th Ave. If issues are found, the homeowner will be allotted a period of time to remedy the code violations or face potential condemnation of the property.
 According to a letter addressed to the council there are concerns of several feet of raw sewage in the basement, amongst other issues.