Cityseeks partner for new city hall

Published on Thu, Jun 14, 2007 by ara Nelson

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City seeks partner for new city hall

By Tara Nelson

The city is looking to pursue a public-private partnership to develop a concept to replace its crumbling city hall.

At their regular meeting Monday, Blaine City Council gave city manager Gary Tomsic permission to develop a request for proposals from the private sector and advertise to developers who might be interested in a joint mixed-use venture. The project would replace the current city hall, which is laced with black mold and lacking in adequate space. The new building is tentatively planned for the current site of the Blaine City Hall and library.

Tomsic said in September 2006, the city was contacted by Tony Melnechuk of T-Square Construction Management Company in Ferndale with a proposal to construct an new city hall and library in exchange for the air rights on the property.

Several meetings have taken place since then, culminating in the council action to move forward with the idea, he said.

Melnechuk appeared before the council during a study session prior to Monday’s meeting and presented a general overview of his proposal.

Tomsic said he had researched the general concept with several experts including legal advisors and, though the details of the project are yet to be developed, he thinks there are a variety of ways to work out a partnership between the city and private developer.

Council member John Liebert asked if it was possible to skip the process that would open the bidding to other contractors out of concern for timeliness.

“I know I taught democracy at the high school, but dictatorship is so much more effective,” he said.

Later, however, he amended his statement: “a gentle dictatorship, though.”

The council, however, decided that rather than enter into an exclusive contract to work with T-Square Construction Management, the council voted to open the opportunity to all investors and developers interested in working with the city.