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Wellness Center makes Senate bonding version

Wadena's proposed wellness center made it to the Minnesota Senate version of the bonding bill, according to Mayor Wayne Wolden.

Wolden said he received a text message from Senator Gretchen Hoffman 8:05 a.m. Wednesday, March 28 congratulating Wadena for being part of the Senate Capital Investment Committee bonding bill.

The Senate has proposed giving $4.75 million to the project, the amount the city had requested and which was equal to Governor Dayton's version of the bonding bill.

"I'm very pleased. There's been a lot of hard work that's gone into this, multiple visits to St. Paul, visits with senators, representatives, chats with the governor, and now here it is," Wolden said.

He said Hoffman gave the project a new title, the Wadena Regional Health and Wellness Center.

The smaller House version of the bonding bill had excluded the project, along with other local projects.

Wolden said he spoke with Representative Larry Howes, chairman of the House Capital Investment Committee, last Thursday morning, and Howes told him the House version was "a start."

He added that five minutes later, he spoke with Dayton who told him they would get Wadena in the bonding bill.

"Where it goes from here is to conference committee, and ultimately final negotiations with the governor, potentially, on [an] end of session agreement. So we're not out of the woods," Wolden said.

He added that he was glad the Senate was finishing what they had started. In fall 2010, Wadena had been awarded $750,000 for planning, pre-design and design.

"We have a project that's ready to go, creates jobs and long term economic development for our town," Wolden said.

He added that Senator Hoffman worked hard on the project, and Senator Paul Gazelka, who would represent Wadena after redistricting goes into effect if re-elected, is also supportive.

Wolden said Representative Mark Murdock also worked hard even though the wellness center ultimately did not make the House version.

He added that Representative Mary Franson of Alexandria, who would cover the Otter Tail County portion of the city of Wadena if re-elected, also indicated support for the project.