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From the Fergus Falls Daily Journal December 8th, 2006

Fergus Falls, Minnesota Friday, December 08, 2006

City, state to share RTC costs

By Susan M.A. Larson

At virtually no risk to the taxpayers, the Fergus Falls City Council voted unanimously to take over five buildings on the Regional Treatment Center campus.

The level of risk was in question with the power to tip the scale in either direction. City Administrator Mark Sievert came to a special council meeting Thursday with an answer.

The state has agreed to heat the buildings while they are being evaluated. The city is responsible for security and insurance.

“I estimated if a city employee spent, say, two hours a day looking in on the buildings and making sure everything was all right, at seven days a week at the average rate of pay, it would be about $300 a week,” Sievert said.

The Friends of the Kirkbride came forward Thursday and volunteered to do the security patrol, since it already gives campus tours. The city will discuss the offer with the group.

“For property insurance on the buildings,” Sievert said, “the premium would be $3,000 for 2007, with a $10,000 deductible.”

Wayne Waslaski, Minnesota Department of Administration, assured the city that $3 million has been secured to use for abatement of the RTC. Funds for paying off the incinerator bonds and demolition of the incinerator will be forthcoming as well.

“We can get it done and not lose any state money, correct?” Council Member Jim Fish asked.

“That’s correct,” Waslaski said.

“The risk is not there, or at least manageable,” City Attorney Rolf Nycklemoe said. “The city is going into this with its eyes open.”

“I, too, am comfortable with this,” Council Member/Acting Mayor Rick Wilson said. “It’s always been my position not to put the taxpayers at risk.”

“As long as the city is going to be made whole,” Fish said, “I say go ahead and go with the process. It’s a very good deal for the city and everyone else.”

If the developers don’t take over the buildings by May 7, they will be demolished, Sievert said. The state was going to seek demolition bids this month. Demolition would likely not begin until 2007.

Letters of intent were submitted by Jeff Schlossman Investments and Hawthorne Development, both of Fargo. Hawthorne is interested in the nurses cottage for multi-unit housing/condominiums. Schlossman is interested in the buildings formerly occupied by the Department of Human Services, the Fergus Falls School District, Early Childhood Family Education and Catholic Charities for use as office buildings.

The fate of the memorial building, slated for demolition, was questioned by Lois Josefson, a member of the Fergus Falls Historical Preservation Commission. Neither developer expressed an interest in it.

“We can put it as a deduct alternate on the list,” Waslaski said. “That means we can wait until the last minute” to demolish it.

The council’s decision was heralded as good news by the Friends of the Kirkbride, a group that has led the preservation fight for the campus.

“The Friends of the Kirkbride were encouraged that the council took the action to take title to the outlying buildings,” Friends Chairperson Maxine Schmidt said following the meeting. “This is only the first step in the process, but exciting things are ahead.”

“This is the beginning of what could be wonderful economic development for the people of Fergus Falls,” Josefson said.

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Current Mood: happy happy

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There is a meeting tonight regarding the Fergus Falls Regional treatment center:

Upcoming Meetings & Events
Thursday, December 7
7:00 a.m. Joint Council/School Board for Update on School Facilities Report (District 544 Offices)
12:00 Noon: EIC (City Hall Lunchroom)
4:30 p.m. Council Work Session for RTC Redeveopment Process (City Council Chambers)
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Aerial picture of the Fergus Falls State Hospital Aerial picture of the Fergus Falls State Hospital

Aerial view of the Fergus Falls State Hospital Kirkbride, Nurses cottage and all surrounding outbuildings. Very cool !

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Congregate Dining Congregate Dining

Congregate Dining. Seating capacity=500. Now...sits empty like most everything else.

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West side of building West side of building

West side of building. Magnificent!

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Another article in today's Fergus Falls Daily Journal in regards to the future of the Kirkbride complex and outbuildings:

Fergus Falls, Minnesota Tuesday, December 05, 2006

State, city working on demolition compromise

By Susan M.A. Larson

With two legitimate proposals on the table, the state is willing to work with the city on preserving some of the Regional Treatment Center buildings.

Attorney Kent Mattson, Kirkbride/RTC project consultant, contacted the state after the last council meeting to inform them that serious prospects for the RTC had materialized. The state will agree to assume responsibility for the cost of minimally heating the buildings the developers expressed interest in (the nurses cottage and the buildings formerly occupied by the Department of Human Services, the Fergus Falls School District, Early Childhood Family Education and Catholic Charities) while evaluations are completed on those structures. After that, the city will be responsible for insurance, security, fire protection and electricity on them.

“The state still maintains that amending the master plan would be of little effect because the outbuildings aren’t a part of it,” Mattson said.

The state is also concerned that overdevelopment of the outbuildings could take focus away from the Kirkbride. In lieu of amending the plan, the city can stick with the two proposals, or open it up for more, which would mean the process would start from square one.

“If (the outbuildings) were lumped into the plan, we’d have to start all over again and we don’t have time for that,” he said.

One concern of city officials and citizens is whether or not delaying demolition would jeopardize funding earmarked for the city. Although the city would lose the $3 million identified by the state for demolition, abatement and infrastructure if not allocated by the end of this year, Mattson said the state is willing to enter into a grant agreement that would preserve the money for the city.

The Fergus Falls City Council will meet in a special session this week to tackle new plans for the Kirkbride/Regional Treatment Center.

A work plan for the future of the RTC was formulated by the state. City Council Member Rick Wilson, acting as mayor in the absence of Russell Anderson, said he did not expect the council to make a decision on the matter Monday. A work session was set for Thursday, Dec. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers. It is open to the public.

Lois Josefson, representing the Fergus Falls Historical Preservation Commission, distributed literature about a Kirkbride campus in Traverse City, Mich., that was refurbished for other uses. She asked that the city and state consider spending money to market the Kirkbride/RTC campus.

“When it’s developed, it will bring in as many economic development dollars as the ethanol plant,” she said.
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This is an article from December 5th, 2006 regarding the latest information on the future of the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center(Fergus Falls State Hospital):

Fergus Falls, Minnesota Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Propose office complex, condos

By Susan M.A. Larson

Fargo’s West Acres developers have stepped forward with a proposal for an office complex and condos for several Regional Treatment Center buildings slated for demolition.

The plan was submitted to the city council Monday by Jeff Schlossman Investments and Hawthorne Development, both of Fargo, the formerly unidentified developers that materialized in the 11th hour prior to the last council meeting. Both entities are acting separately.

Jeff Schlossman Investments is interested in four buildings formerly occupied by the Department of Human Services, the Fergus Falls School District, Early Childhood Family Education and Catholic Charities. They would be used for four separate office buildings, Mattson said.

Schlossman is the commercial real estate developer responsible for the West Acres shopping mall in Fargo, as well as numerous apartment complexes in that city.

Hawthorne Development is interested in the nurses cottage for multi-unit housing/condominiums. Representatives have been through the nurses cottage, looked it over and expressed interest, Stanislawski said. Hawthorne is a team of individuals and companies interested in preserving historic buildings. Hawthorne helped save Northern School Supply, now located near North Dakota State University.

In its letter of intent, Hawthorne representative Michael Allmendinger said, in part, “In our preliminary studies, we envision 12 residential units, six on each floor ... Each unit could have a kitchen, living space and one or two bedrooms.”

Attorney Kent Mattson, Kirkbride/RTC project consultant, and Economic Improvement Commission Director Harold Stanislawski spoke on their behalf Monday.

“They are for real,” Mattson said. “They have been paying attention to this.”

Schlossman and Hawthorne will have complete proposals finished by Jan. 30.

“I think that’s a pretty good turnaround,” Mattson said.

“I’m excited to work with Jeff (Schlossman) from the standpoint of economic development,” Stanislawski said. “He brings a big Rolodex of contacts.”
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I added some new pictures this morning of the 3rd floor connecting hallway and some more outside pictures.
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The Memorial Building The Memorial Building

This is the Memorial Building. I have learned that this building used to be used by occupational therapy. It has also been used by outpatient chemical dependency treatment in years past. This is one of my favorite buildings on the grounds.

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From the City of Fergus Falls website:

The City of Fergus Falls, in cooperation with the State of Minnesota, is seeking purchase and redevelopment
proposals for the Fergus Falls Regional Treatment Center (FFRTC). The State-owned property is located 175 miles
northwest of the Twin Cities on State Highway 297 north of Fir Street in Fergus Falls, Otter Tail County,
The existing site consists of a single parcel. The Request for Redevelopment proposals is reducing the site into
seven distinct parcels, two of which are not to be included in Redevelopment Proposals as they are designated for
public park space and other public uses to be determined, which may include Fergus Falls Industrial Park, Otter
Tail County Jail, Otter Tail County Courthouse, or other public facilities. The remaining five parcels are available
for redevelopment through this Request for Redevelopment.
Redevelopment goals include:
• Retain as much of the historically significant aspects of the campus as is feasible.
• Development of new jobs should be pursued.
• Maintain some form of public purpose, service, access, or feature on campus if possible.
• Support local economic development.
Respondents are encouraged to address all five available parcels or to address the three Kirkbride parcels in
concert, however, responses addressing a minimum of a single complete parcel will be considered. Proposals are
due January 30, 2007 at 2:30pm. Request for Proposals may be obtained by request via US mail or email only by
Mr. Kent Mattson
Pemberton, Sorlie, Rufer and Kershner
110 North Mill Street
Fergus Falls, MN 56537
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