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Two 1% sales tax projects move ahead

Diane Booth
Diane Booth

Both the community center and library committees are poised to move ahead with use of the 1% sales tax money as part of their project funding. Cook County Community Center Director Diane Booth and members of the new community center steering committee approached the county board Tuesday with a request to proceed on contract negotiations with a construction management firm.
Booth said the committee had reviewed a number of owner representatives and construction managers to help them lead the building of a new community center/pool complex. Their choice was Orb Management of Alexandria, MN. Booth said Orb had a lot of experience working in rural communities. Board Chair Fritz Sobanja said he visited a project that Orb developed in Alexandria and was in his words “greatly impressed” with their work.
Booth said one of the reasons the steering committee went with Orb was their track record of awarding 70 to 80% of the project work to local contractors. The board voted to negotiate a contract with Orb Management and determine a process for funding preliminary studies. Negotiators would include steering committee members, a board member as well as Auditor-Treasurer Braidy Powers and County Attorney Tim Scannell.
The steering committee has set a ballpark amount of between $8 and $12 million for the community center/pool project. They expect the management fees to range between 4.5 and 5.5% of the total project.
The Grand Marais Library Board also sent a letter of intent to the commissioners alerting them to the fact they are close to selecting an architectural firm. The are seeking a firm that can oversee the expansion project from start to finish. The Library Board will be requesting sales tax money to fund an expansion design, probably in October.