Our View: Purchase of NMC building looks good for citySometimes patience can be a virtue and that proved true in the effort to get the old NMC building (owned by Xcel Energy) into city ownership, providing space for both a library and the police department.
By: Editorial staff, Hudson Star-Observer
Sometimes patience can be a virtue and that proved true in the effort to get the old NMC building (owned by Xcel Energy) into city ownership, providing space for both a library and the police department.
Maybe patience isn’t the proper description of the recent transaction, but if the purchase had been approved in the November 2008 referendum election, the price may have been considerably higher.
According to reports during the weeks and months leading up to the 2008 vote, the cost of the building was $3.8 million. The city may soon purchase the building – less than a year later – for $2.5 million. The purchase also includes a smaller building on the corner of Second and Vine streets for $300,000. The actual price of the NMC Building is $2.2 million.
The city council and Mayor Dean Knudson deserve some accolades for making this deal work – it would have been easy to walk away from it after the voters nixed the original plan. With the purchase, the library still has an opportunity to get into a better, more modern facility; and the city can resolve its own space issues by putting the police department in the new facility.
It should be noted that the deal is not totally done. The city has until Dec. 16 to back out if it discovers some unforeseen problem.
In 2008, the Hudson Area Library Foundation proposed moving the Hudson library to the former corporate headquarters building. That proposal, however, failed to receive the needed support from all four municipal partners of the library in a November 2008 referendum.
Knudson resurrected the idea of the building being used for public purposes after a study by Frisbie Architects found the city’s public safety departments – and the police department in particular – to be in need of additional space.
The mayor proposed moving the police department and the library into the building – the library could lease space just as it does now.
He envisions a two-stage plan for the building. During the initial five-year period, the police and library would share the building. Then the library would buy the NMC building and the police would move into a new public safety building built by the city.
St. Croix EMS and other city offices would likely move into the lower level of City Hall when that space is vacated by the police. The plan calls for the city selling the Hudson Municipal Building at 911 Fourth St. if the Hudson Area Joint Library moves into the NMC building.
That’s good news for taxpayers. First, if the building is sold, it further reduces the cost of the NMC building; and second, it means the city does not take ownership of an additional structure. Knudson says the plan is “well within our means and wouldn’t require a tax increase.”
The plan is to trade up from an older, smaller building to a newer, larger building with no increase in taxes — what could be better?