City Accepts County’s Offer for Old Courthouse
The Pine City Council accepted Pine County’s offer to lease the old Pine County courthouse at Wednesday’s city council meeting. The lease is for ten years and the city will pay the county $35,000 a year. The agreement states the city must lease the building for at least five years and then has the option to opt out, but must pay $35,000 to the county if it opts out early.
Councilman Brian Scholin says utilizing the old courthouse is a good opportunity for the city.
The city will move into the main floor of the facility and county commissioner Steve Hallan told the council the county will likely use the basement for storage. Currently, the county is using the old jail for a storage facility, but Hallan says the plan is to turn that building into a parking lot.
Pine County Coordinator Mark LeBrun said Tuesday that the cost of renovating the facility will cost roughly $100,000. The county will pay utility costs, however, the county and city will split payment of any future increase over 30-percent, according to Pine City Administrator Don Howard.
Rough plans are to use the main floor of the old courthouse as the new City Hall, and the current city hall will be used for an expansion of the library.
Councilman Paul Janssen questioned how the city can fund expanding a library but can not keep some city streets open.
Scholin, who is also a member of the library board, says fundraising efforts are on-going to fund the expansion project to avoid tax increases. An anonymous donor has also pledged a $200,000 gift for the project.
Librarian Christy Koch responded to Janssen’s comments by speaking on the role of the library in the community.
The council requested that final details of the lease agreement be complete by the next city council meeting on November 4th.