Brainerd has 2-3 years to address historic water tower issues
The city has an estimated two or three years to figure out what to do with its ailing historic water tower. Contracted engineers guessed that grace period is about what life the tower has left before it starts seriously deteriorating more, said c...
The city has an estimated two or three years to figure out what to do with its ailing historic water tower.
Contracted engineers guessed that grace period is about what life the tower has left before it starts seriously deteriorating more, said city engineer Jeff Hulsether. With some costly, detailed improvements, it can last another 100 years.
At a Brainerd City Council meeting Tuesday, the group heard an update on a recent study on the tower, where hired engineers investigated just how serious the deterioration of the tower is.
Pieces started falling from the tower a couple of months ago, prompting city leaders to look into why.
A couple of weeks ago, Classic Protective Coatings rigged spiders off the top of the water tower and removed loose coating.
Engineers from Brain Intertec and SEH evaluated the existing coating, the underlying reinforced concrete and the inside and rim of the bowl.
Following the study, engineers say between two to four inches of concrete is deteriorating around the tower, Hulsether said.
All of the steel is in good condition, which is good news, he said.
"It's more just that the water is penetrating and going through freeze/thaw cycles," that is causing the problem, he said.
The city will need to address the leaking bowl, among other issues, he said.
The council agreed to move to the next phase, where engineers will compile a list of possible solutions, along with the cost and life expectancy. To compare, they will also bring forward the cost to tear the tower down.
This phase will cost an estimated $8,500, but not to exceed $10,000.
City council member Gary Scheeler said he was concerned about how high the costs will go to mend the problem.
"We're talking astronomical numbers," he said, noting that nothing has been done yet to actually fix the tower.
Scheeler said city officials will soon have to address where to draw the line in how much money gets put into the structure.
City staff will also review final invoices from the contractors, to make sure they are consistent with actual expenses.
Hulsether said the investigative work didn't take as long as estimated. Also, a piece of equipment to reach the top of the tower wasn't used, since it couldn't fit on the property.
An update on the invoices will be brought back to the council.
In other council news:
Held the first reading of a proposed ordinance that would allow for possible building permit denial if a resident has had enforcement actions taken against them. Those permit requests would go before the council for approval or denial. The second reading will be before the council at its next meeting.
Held the final reading and public hearing of an ordinance to annex 37 acres to the city from Unorganized Territory. The land was acquired when the city bought the hydrodam this summer. No one spoke during the public hearing.
Accepted a bid for $20,845 from Herzog Roofing to repair the the Parks and Recreation Department maintenance building roof. The move is providing that the city building official can confirm it will solve all of the problems.
The roof has been leaking for several years, and last winter water was flowing into light fixtures in the break room, in the hallway and in the shop.
Voted to request Crow Wing County held four tax forfeit land parcels in conservation and not offer for sale. The county recently asked the city to classify the four parcels as non-conservation so that they can be auctioned at a sale.
Hulsether said re-classifying the land could hinder future projects and expansions.
Specifically, two parcels are located at 28th Street and Highway 18, where possible future road improvements will require additional right of way. Keeping the land in conservation means the state won't need to re-acquire the land in the future.
Another parcel, adjacent to First Avenue Northeast, has a storm sewer outfall and it may be necessary to build a sedimentation basin in the future, Hulsether said.
The fourth parcel is between Southeast 11th Street and the Spur Trail, and has an existing sanitary sewer running diagonally across, rendering it unbuildable, he said.
Approved a request to reimburse a property owner at 1324 South Seventh Street the cost of having a plumber repair her sewer service last winter. The request was initially denied after the city insurance found the responsibility was on the property owner. A followup investigation showed the city's contractor more than likely caused the problem several years ago when the project was being done. Since the warranty period for the project is over, the responsibility could fall to the city.
At the last council meeting, the group voted to ask the original contractor to pursue an insurance claim with its private insurance company. The contractor declined, citing the one year warranty ended.
The $1,035 will come from the sanitary sewer fund.
Approved a request from the Northland Arboretum to support its new compost site. The cost to the city would be time and equipment for an employee to take a loader and "tum" the compost once in October.
Approved submitting an Initiative Foundation grant request to assist in funding the community walkability audit. The audit will assess the walking environment of a street, school area or neighborhood.
The total cost is $6,320. Of that, Region V Development Commission will provide $975; The National Joint Powers Alliance will pay $2,672. The grant request will be the remaining $2,672.
Voting against the move was city council member Mary Koep, who said she didn't see the need for the audit.
Heard an overview of City Administrator Patrick Wussow's six-month evaluation. Overall, the council agreed he works well with staff and residents. Most council members feel he has a good understanding of the city's financial picture and one council member said he "has to be more fiscally prudent with financial planning and budgeting." Most council members feel Wussow is between the high end of developing proficiency and the low end of solid proficiency in most areas. Wussow will be given annual performance reviews going forward.
Heard the Miracle League Field sponsorship arch is expected to be completed this fall.
Set a budget workshop for 6 p.m., Sept. 8, at City Hall council chambers.
Approved a special Safety and Public Works Committee meeting from 4-6 p.m., Sept. 11, at City Hall. The committee will discuss future road improvement projects.
Approved four street closures for events:
• Brainerd School District's homecoming parade from 10-11:30 a.m., Sept. 27, from Fifth Street to East River Road.
• St. Francis Catholic School marathon from noon-2:45 p.m., Oct. 15, from North Eighth and Ninth streets and Kingwood and Juniper Streets.
• Brainerd Fire Department open house from 4-8 p.m,. Oct. 9, on East River Road.
• Bethlehem Lutheran Church crop walk from noon-3 p.m., Oct. 12, on a residential street east of Mill Avenue.