Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Lois E. Johnson
Moose Lake Star-Gazette 

Barnum prepares to build replacement community center, liquor store, city hall


March 21, 2019

The Barnum City Council passed a motion to hire the Meyer Group, an architectural firm from Duluth, to design a building that would replace the community center, the liquor store and the city hall, at a meeting of the council on Monday, March 11.

It was explained that the plans are to remove the community center and build a new structure on that space for the liquor store, city hall and community center.

The council had requested proposals from five architectural firms but had only received responses from three. The council met with representatives of the three firms and selected the Meyer Group as the best one for the city’s needs.

“Tim Meyer seemed to have common sense,” said Councilor Dale Riihiluoma. “He didn’t want to build something that we could not afford. He came highly recommended.”

It was said that Phase I of the project came to $1.4 million and is slated for 2020. The community center will be demolished and a new building constructed on that site. The last part of the project would be to remove the existing liquor store building and to sell the current city hall building.

Two bonds will fund the project. The council approved an engagement letter with Northland Securities for bonding for the liquor store portion of the project. The bonds will be repaid from liquor store profits, it was said.

The bonds for the remainder of the project will be sold on a public sale and will be repaid by a tax levy on city property owners and proceeds from the sale of the current city hall building.

Campers from the Bear Lake Campground, now owned by the city, met with the council to discuss their concerns. Camping season is from May 1 through Oct. 1. One camper asked if the season could be extended to Oct. 15. The request was denied.

Another request of the city installing water lines to the camping trailers and motorhomes was also denied. Public Works Supervisor Brett Collier said that the Department of Health would get involved if he put a PVC pipe on top of the ground for a water line.

“It’s okay if you hook up a hose,” he said. “You have to furnish your own hose.”

One woman expressed a concern for the woman’s bathroom. She said that the floor was so rough that someone with mobility problems could fall.

The campers were asked to submit a list of concerns to the city clerk.

The council told the campers that a new roof is planned to be installed on the shower building this year. It is one of the projects that is included in a DNR grant application.

It was said, later in the meeting, that the DNR grant application was for $46,000 for park and recreational site improvements. The city would have to provide matching funds. The project could be accomplished over a two-year period, if the grant was awarded. The city will receive word about the grant award in June.

The city would have to match the funds with $23,000 in each of the two years. Some of the funding could be matched with volunteer labor, such as volunteers from the Challenge Incarceration Program, it was said.

Collier spoke about the log sign that once welcomed people to Barnum.

“The logs were full of carpenter ants,” he explained. “It needs to be replaced.”

He was asked to bring ideas for a replacement sign and approximate costs to the council.

Liquor Store Manager Eric Pellinen reported that the liquor store now has electronic pull tabs.

“I need to train the staff,” he told the council. “That is set for March 24. But I might start slowly implementing the electronic pull tabs before that. It will be situational until the training.”

He explained that the electronic games are on an iPad. If someone walked away with one of the iPads, the games would not work outside of the liquor store.

Pellinen also said that applications have been received for one or two part-time positions. Interviews will be set up.

The council discussed the possibility of removing the existing playground equipment from the elementary school and moving it to the city park, the campground or green space properties, where homes had been removed after the flood.

But, in further discussion, it was decided that the cost of removing the equipment and installing it in another location would be too expensive and not bring that much benefit to the city. The issue was dropped.

The council discussed the agreement between the city and the school about RJM Park. Two councilors, Darrel Berry and Lori Berglund, will meet with Superintendent Dave Bottem to discuss the plans for the park before the agreement is approved.

In other business, the council approved a $500 scholarship from the gambling fund for Dollars for Scholars, approved a gambling permit at the fairgrounds for the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association, passed a motion to post no parking signs two spaces back from the stop signs at the main intersection in town, and passed a motion to have the Carlton County Sheriff’s Department to provide traffic control during Spring Fever Days.

The next meeting of the Barnum City Council was set for Monday, April 8, at 6 p.m.


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