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Wellness center 1, infrastructure project 2

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news Wadena, 56482

Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

The Wadena City Council planned on two bonding requests to the 2012 legislative session -- the proposed wellness center and southeast infrastructure projects -- and prioritized them in that order.

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The motion was made by council member Don Niles and supported by Acting Mayor Jeanette Baymler and council member Kay Browne, with council member Toby Pierce opposing.

In the previous council meeting, the council had talked about the wellness center for 2012 budget requests if they did not receive funding in the 2011 deadlock.

"I put together one for the wellness center. Ed Cain put together an application for the southeast infrastructure and some other infrastructure issues, and part of the application says that if we have more than one application, we have to have a resolution prioritizing them," City Administrator Brad Swenson said.

The proposed wellness center is a project to replace the community center destroyed in last year's tornado, and the city is requesting about $14 million in state bonding.

The southeast infrastructure request was partly about the sewers which have been an issue in the southeast area of town for several years, and partly about storm damage, and the request is for about $4 million.

Ulteig Engineers had been hired to look at the sewers.

Swenson said that FEMA could hopefully cover the sewer damage from the tornado, but if that fell through, the Legislature could hopefully help.

"So what we're saying is, we'd rather have the community center than do all the infrastructure in the southeast part of town?" council member Toby Pierce said.

"Everybody in town would have the option to use the wellness center," Jeanette Baymler said. "But we're always going to come back to the rebuilding of the southeast and then I hope someday southwest anyhow."

"If you're sitting there in southeast and you're having trouble with your water lines or your sewer lines ... you probably don't think the community center is very important," Pierce said.

Pierce added that the request for $14 million is 80 percent of the cost of the proposed wellness center, and the suggested request amount is 50 percent.

At the end of the meeting, Swenson said that they would know the fate of the original 2011 bonding request whenever the Legislature decided to get back and compromise and make a decision. If the 2011 bonding request would be denied, then they would fall back on the 2012 bonding request.

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