City Passes on Old Jail; Shift Focus to Courthouse
The Pine City Council is saying ‘no’ to the old Pine County jail, but is asking to re-establish conversation regarding the old county courthouse.
The council unanimously rejected the county’s offer to purchase the jail for $200,000 as a potential home for a new city hall. The council cited the cost of renovating the facility as the reason for the decision. The estimated land and building value of the jail is over $1.6-million.
Council member Brian Scholin made the motion. He went on to say that he wants the city and county to sit down and discuss city hall moving into a floor at the old county courthouse.
Earlier this year, the county pulled an offer to sell the courthouse for $50,000 off the table. Scholin says ideally the city would want the middle of three floors at the courthouse.
In June, Pine County Coordinator Mark LeBrun said the size of the jail makes more sense for the city. Lebrun said, “$200,000 for that is better than $50,000 for the old courthouse. It’s good for them because the [jail] is more appropriate in size.”
The library board is pushing for moving city hall and expanding the library. The two facilities are currently connected. The request comes because of a promised donation from an anonymous source for $200,000. The money is for a renovation of the library renovation, but the donor has informed the board they want to see the project begin in the near future.
Another option discussed by the council, is adding on to the current city hall. City Administrator Don Howard said the city needs to first map out the needs of the two facilities and then begin look at alternative options.
The council also talked about possibly leasing other facilities in town as a temporary home for city hall. Four of the proposed locations are in the Pine Plaza.