Starting with the next Big Lake City Council meeting Feb. 27, meeting times will change from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to accommodate citizens and council members. Wednesday the city council unanimously voted to move the start time an hour later, not only for their bi-weekly council meetings but also for their workshops. Mayor Raeanne Danielowski explained that because Big Lake is considered a “bedroom community”, having a 5 p.m. meeting made it hard for citizens working outside the community to attend meetings. Danielowski also said it was in part to ease the burden for council members who have fulltime jobs. Municipal Space Needs For the past few years, city staff and council have been in discussions about the future plans for city hall, police, fire and public works space and what direction they should take should they ever consider moving, renovating or newly constructing a campus for city services. Last year, the city hired Thomas Dobbs of Hay Dobbs Design to conduct a space needs study and Dobbs was onhand to present his findings to council. Dobbs said his firm compiled and summarized information that identifies the city’s overall needs. He clarified they in no means try to influence the city to go in a certain direction, just make suggestions and recommendations based on the data they discover. “These recommendations will be a guideline for concepts of buildings and system sizing, arrangements performance and relationships for architects and engineers during the development and design, “ he said. Dobbs included city hall, the police department, the fire department, public works and the library in the study (including the senior center, council chambers, chamber of commerce and the food shelf). Intent of the study is to determine if the city has, or will have, enough space in the coming years to adequately conduct business and provide for the safety and general welfare of the community. Dobbs assessed the existing facilities, figured the projected space needs out to 2030 based on future municipal needs and identified potential locations for renovation or new construction. Seven locations were identified as possible sites for a municipal campus, five in the “downtown” area of Big Lake, one by the current fire hall and one at the TOD site. Costs for renovations and new construction at the seven sites ranged from a low of $12 million to a high of almost $15 million. Dobbs said the numbers are initial estimates with project costs obviously changing due to inflation and timing of the projects. Danielowski stressed to the attending public and the viewers on their cable access channel that the city is in no way making immediate plans to spend money on the project, other than having the space needs study done so they can plan for the idea in the future. No council action was done in regards to the study. Dill Dental Ben Wickstrom, interim planner for Big Lake and Architect James Strapko presented council with a report and concept plan for the construction of a new dental facility for Dr. Reed Dill. Dill hopes to build a new 3,600-4,000 square foot office building at the corner of Eagle Lake Road and Martin Ave. The proposed parcel is 5/8 of an acre and will be the first development on the site owned by the city. Strapko provided council with a rough draft of the site plan and design and indicated Dill’s building position is distinct due to the fact he’d like to preserve a few of the mature trees located on the lot. Strapko also included a draft of how the rest of the redevelopment could be developed for future office space or retail and how the parking would meet the needs of the structures. Wickstrom said the report was presented to the planning commission earlier in the month and they recommended approval of the concept plan for the Dill Dental facility. Council gave the go ahead for development of the preliminary plans. Police Reserves Police Chief Joel Scharf identified seven newly appointed reservists to the unit and recognized six others who have provided extended hours to the program. Ben Jarvi, Ryan Martin, Kaitlin Otto, Austin Sable, Joe Renner, Michael Mingo and Luke Gruhlke were given a round of applause for joining the reserve program headed by Captain Guy Chaffe. Scharf said the reserve program contributed over 5,100 hours last year which is the equivalent of having two FT officers on board. Scharf and Investigator Rich Berg then handed out Presidential Volunteer Service Award certificates and pins to Chaffe (gold award - 1,095 hours), Sgt. Justin Boster (gold - 1,792), Sgt. Aaron Fullmer (gold - 1,276.5), Ofc. Nate Beyer (gold - 273.5), Ofc. Crystal Gassman (silver - 198) and Ofc. Nick Simon (silver - 225.5 hours). Other News •Council approved the resolution to apply for grants for the city’s Safe Routes to School program; •Chief Scharf accepted a donation of a forensic lab computer from Sherburne County who had just upgraded their own system; •Firefighter Sam Olson accepted a $1,500 donation from the Big Lake American Legion to be used for the Rescue ATV and equipment. City staff also accepted a $500 donation from the Legion to be used towards the Community Reader Board The next Big Lake council meeting is Feb. 27 at 6 p.m.