Isanti to examine future of community center

By Elizabeth Sias

A task force has been set up in Isanti to determine the future of the city’s community center.

During its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 21, the City Council appointed members to the Isanti Community Center Task Force, with the goal of evaluating the uses for the Community Center and developing a vision for the center in the future.

“I think everybody wants to keep the community center,” Isanti Mayor George Wimmer said. “It’s going to be a matter of how we do that and how we’re able to afford to do that.”

Councilmember Sue Larson will chair the committee, and Councilmember Ross Lorinser will be a member as well. Others on the task force include business owners and others throughout the community, including representation from the Cub Scouts, Senior Dining and Lions Club.

“We are looking at some considerable, six-figure, dollar amount to bring this thing up to a good operating standard long-term,” Wimmer said, adding that one possible outcome could be putting forth a levy referendum to voters to obtain funding for the community center. “We’re a long ways from that, but I think it’s important that we do have a final understanding of what we need to have done at the community center and how much that’s going to cost us and how we’re going to do that.”

The committee will report to the City Council every few months, and Wimmer said he hopes final recommendations will be presented by the end of the year.

Addition to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church

Council members approved plans to construct an addition onto the existing structure of the St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic Church located at 207 Whiskey Road NW.

An 80-foot by 60-foot meeting/conference room addition is planned for construction on the south side of the existing building.

A new portico and bell tower are also planned for the entrance to the church, along the east side of the building. The church intends to have a bell system that would be used during services.

In addition, a new asphalt driveway extension would be placed around the new addition area, so that access is maintained to the rear of the church.

The construction plans were approved with the condition that an additional handicapped parking space must also be provided to conform to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

Before construction begins, the grading and drainage plans must be submitted to and approved by City Engineer Bradley DeWolf. All areas disturbed by new construction not covered by established lawn or turf will be sodded.

Mattson Park Tennis Courts

The City Council passed a resolution allowing exclusive use of the Mattson Park Tennis Courts by the Cambridge-Isanti School District for the spring and fall 2012 and 2013 practice schedule.

City staff will accept the fee of $350 per season, raised from $250. The reason for the increase, according to the Finance Committee, is to keep aligned with cost increases to maintain the facility.

Finance Director

With the acceptance of Finance Director Kristi Smith’s letter of resignation, the council accepted a proposal for interim finance director services provided by firm Abdo, Eick and Meyers (AEM).

The firm also served in 2008 when the city had a vacant Finance Director position. A contracted employee will provide the temporary services for Isanti.

Their staff will assist with projects and be in the city office one day per week during the interim period, which is anticipated to be 60 days. Smith’s last work day is March 16.

The base fee for the service is $1,300 per week.

Redbird Field Improvements

The Isanti Redbirds will now have the funds necessary to move forward with the Redbird field improvements planned.

Council members passed a resolution authorizing city staff to release funds for future field maintenance and improvement projects, which include lights, updating the electrical system, fence and backstop, update irrigation system and more.

Cindy Lind-Livingston, on behalf of the Redbirds Organization, had approached the Park Board at their meeting Jan. 24 to discuss potential improvements the group would like to make. The city of Isanti has a special revenue fund on behalf of the Redbirds, in which funds received from charitable gambling and donations are deposited.

With the City Council’s authorization, city staff can now release the funds immediately for work completed on the field.

In other action, the council:

• Approved a special event application for a three-day Girl Scouts day camp within Bluebird Park. The event for Cambridge and Isanti area Girl Scouts will be June 20-22 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.