The bid for constructing the new Salina City Hall was awarded to Mickelsen Construction Wednesday, April 14, 2021 at the Salina City council meeting. “We’d like to get going as soon as possible,” said Mayor Jed Maxwell. “We’re ready to close on the loan and I would imagine it will be under construction for the next two years.” The city received a CIB grant/loan for $3.4 million to fund the project and the 17,000 sq. ft. building will house the city offices, the police department, and the library, all of which will be on the upper 8,500 sq. ft, and the lower level will house evidence/interview rooms for law enforcement, conference and meeting rooms, as well as storage. The building will be built on the lot between 300-400 West Main, as the city has purchased the area. “We’ll clean up that whole section,” said Maxwell. “The city purchased that entire block where the old hospital used to be and where our police station is currently located. We also own that brick house on the property and the city is currently renting it to the swimming pool construction crew. Once they’ve completed the pool and move out of that house the city crew will begin demolition on the lot.” The current city hall was built almost 100 years ago and according to Maxwell, is in rough shape. Bricks are becoming detached from the outer surface, the downstairs is filled with mold and the paint on the walls bubble whenever it rains or is moist outside. “We have to have fans blowing on our documents throughout the winter months or they’ll become moldy,” he said. “This building has run its course. We will continue to operate out of it until the new one is constructed, then whoever is in charge will make the call as to what to do with the building and space.”
Contractors were asked to bid on remodeling the current city hall, and estimates came in at over $2million, and even then, space is a major issue.
“Everything is in place as far as funding for the new building,” said Maxwell. “There won’t be new taxes to cover the payment- we took care of it all at one time when we had the increase for the pool.”
An update on the construction at the swimming pool was also given at the meeting, and if things go right, it is scheduled to open June 1, 2021. Manager Bree Nielsen was in attendance and received funds to purchase necessary equipment, and rates were discussed. It was determined that Salina City residents will receive a 25% discount on pool usage, including lessons, rentals, and family passes, because their taxes were increased to pay for the project.
“We are trying to do good by our citizens,” said Councilman Cade Hunter. “Prior to the beginning of this project, the surrounding communities weren’t interested in contributing funds towards the pool, so the Salina City taxpayers, who are paying for the project, will get a discount whenever they use it.”
Lifeguards have been hired and the summer calendar is beginning to fill up with reservations. Though it is unsure the exact date of completion/opening, pool rentals can be made through Nielsen at 435-979-4189.
In other council business:
- Councilman Danny Viers publicly thanked the Salina Area Chamber of Commerce Directors who put on an amazing Easter Egg Hunt. “It was really great,” he said. “They did a tremendous job. There were people lined up all the way around the park and I was so glad to see the successful event.” He requested doggie bags be placed at the park so people can take care of their own pet messes because that was a huge issue for the event coordinators who spent a lot of time clearing the park so the children wouldn’t step in it. Council members agreed this would be a positive addition to the park and requested citizens care for their own animals.
- Salina City’s Planning and Zoning Commission reported that they are going through the city’s ordinances to make sure everything is current, correct, and the way the city would like things to be handled. Council member Newell Hales thanked them for their dedication.
- Salina City Maintenance Supervisor Brad Allen alerted council members of a leak in the city’s water tank and they’re working on getting it repaired. He also said their work trucks are acting up and one is currently in the shop. The crew is working on a list of pot holes that will need filled this spring.
- Council member Newell Hales requested permission for bid advertisements to go out for seal coating the city/pool parking lot and a couple areas in town prior to summer events. He also brought up the upcoming Independence Day festivities and convinced his fellow council members to assist with a watermelon eating contest as well as being on a float in the parade.
- Council member Jon Maxwell reported on a recent Recreation Department meeting and said the baseball program is underway and softball will be starting soon. The television show ‘At Your Leisure’ contacted the department to encourage applications for a grant that would highlight businesses and the area’s trail systems. A frisbee golf course has been set up at the Aurora City Park and Director Brady Edwards will be working on getting one at Salina City’s park as well. The board of directors also discussed a transgender policy and it was decided that the gender on a person’s birth certificate will be the determining factor on which team youth will play on.
- Permits were also issued for a pop up bar for several events throughout the remainder of the year. A permit was denied for a bar in town due to current laws- no restaurants in town are currently allowed to serve alcoholic beverages due to their proximity to either schools, churches, municipality owned structures, etc. A pop up bar, however, is legal for up to 36 days per year.