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Assembly finalizes Capital Projects list, bumps school kitchen up

 


Petersburg Assembly Members finalized the 2015 Capital Projects list for the borough, looking to primarily address infrastructure upgrades in the top items.

“The borough departments, as well as the school and hospital, have reviewed the 2015 Capital Needs list and have provided updates to the list,” Mayor Mark Jensen said, adding that Borough Manager Stephen Giesbrecht had recommended keeping the list smaller at 10 to 12 items to, hopefully, increase legislative attention.

The list of Capital Projects remained largely unchanged, shuffling only a few items after the assembly was briefly petitioned by Petersburg schools and Petersburg Medical Center representatives.

Petersburg School District Superintendent Lisa Stroh led the way, asking for assembly members to bump up the request for improvements to the school's kitchen from its current place, sixth on the list.

“If the borough moves it up on the list, we have a better chance of getting it higher on the list for the Department of Education, and the kitchen is very, very needed,” she said. “Our projects are funded at 70 percent that the state pays and 30 percent we pay.”

Director of Child Nutrition Carlee Wells said that the school kitchen was woefully and legally deficient in many critical areas, from its antique ovens to aging sanitation and crowded prep areas that were red flags to state inspectors, though the school is a state leader in nutrition.

“To start off, we feed 60 breakfasts every day, 200 fresh fruit and vegetables every day, we feed about 200 lunches and 70 after-school meals,” she said. “We move a lot of food through this kitchen. If we had a better facility, we would be able to really excel.”

At the end of the Assembly's deliberations, renovation of the Police Station kept its top place on the list, budgeted at a total project cost of $10.2 million, $5.1 million secured and the balance requested. Second on the borough's list was the Rasmus Enge bridge reconstruction, requesting the remaining $1.2 million on the $1,313,679 project. Third was upgrades to the Haugen Drive collection system, $160,000, and another $1.6 million for the school's food service renovations followed. A $700,000 funding request on behalf of the PMC for upgrades to the electronic medical records was fifth. PMC also stood sixth on the list; $1.6 million was requested for the long-term care center. The largest ticket, Scow Bay's prospective haul-out, came in seventh at $3,862,150, with another $300,000 requested for Petersburg Children’s Center building expansions as number 8. Item number 9 on the list is a $180,000 request for recycling capacity improvements in the form of a glass crusher and tire cutter, with $175,000 requested for the Clausen Museum to continue design work at 10th. A $180,000 request for a remodel to the Community Gym and $1.8 million, formerly more than three times that amount, was requested for a Marine Terminal Drive Down Facility, complete with a sheet pile bulkhead concluding the list.

“I'm not sure if we need that full $5.8 million on the Marine Terminal Drive Down Facility,” Assemblyman Kurt Wohlhueter said. “Seems like we can do this for a little bit cheaper than that.”

Wohlhueter proposed using funds potentially remaining from other phases of the overall project to accelerate development of the project. “All we need is 120 (feet) right now, let's just start with that.”

 

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