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City ready to bid sports complex

July 12, 2011
Meg Alexander - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Bidding will soon begin on the Winnebago Avenue sports complex in Fairmont.

On Monday, the City Council unanimously approved advertising for bids.

When complete, the park will have three softball diamonds and a baseball field, a concession stand, two paved parking lots, and a trail system around the circumference that connects the sports complex to the city's skate park on Margaret Street.

The city also is discussing using a storm water retention area for an ice-skating rink in the winter.

The city has a budget of about $1.5 million for the project, using funds set aside several years ago for the park, including $979,920 from the sale of 163 acres of farmland in March.

Upgrades to the sports complex will be bid in separate packages, with bids for lighting and restrooms waiting until the project is further along.

Mayor Randy Quiring questioned why the city would not include new bleachers in the project, since the park renovation is intended to attract more ball players and spectators.

The city is working with the money it has, so new grandstands will have to wait until a later date, answered Troy Nemmers, Fairmont's public works director.

City Councilman Darin Rahm asked about ways of raising revenue for the park, such as selling naming rights, should someone make a consideration contribution to the park. He also wanted to know if the city will seek outfield advertisers.

If someone wants to donate half a million - a quarter of the project cost - to develop the stands or any other aspect of the renovations, the city would be happy to name the park after them, said city administrator Jim Zarling.

In regard to selling advertising space along the fences, it had not been discussed by city staff, Zarling said.

"That would be up to the council," he said.

Other questions included the condition of Margaret Street, since the project will span the width of a block from Winnebago Avenue to Margaret - a rough gravel road.

"Do we have plans to upgrade?" asked Councilman Harlan Gorath, noting the washboards on the road. "... Hopefully we'll be getting a lot more traffic on it."

Margaret Street is in the city's long-term plans to improve, and since it is a state-funded highway, additional funds should be available for it. City staff agreed Margaret may need to be moved up on the city's list of street improvements.

In other business Monday, the council awarded the bid for resurfacing portions of Cedar Park Road, Cedar Creek Court, Stella Street, Ward Street and North Avenue. Of three bidders, the lowest was M.R. Paving & Excavating, Inc., of New Ulm, at $827,989.

A low bid also was approved for seal-coating portions of Bird Street, Day Street, Elm Street, Fifth Street, Larsen Lane, Lucia Avenue, Orient Street, Second Street, Stella Addition Service Road and Tilden Street. Pearson Brothers, Inc. of Hanover was the lower of two bidders, at $39,689.

Both sets of street improvement projects came in slightly below estimates.



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