A proposal for Lyon County and the city of Cottonwood to share a shop building took another couple of steps forward on Tuesday. Members of the Lyon County Board gave their approval for the purchase of a building in Cottonwood's industrial area at their regular meeting, and later in the day, Cottonwood City Council members also approved the purchase.
Cottonwood has been interested in having a bigger maintenance shop for several years, partly so city vehicles and other equipment can be stored out of the elements. At the same time, the county has been looking to replace its highway shop in Cottonwood, after the shop was destroyed by a fire in February.
At Tuesday morning's board meeting, commissioners discussed an offer by the city of Cottonwood to buy a building and land on East 4th Street, currently owned by Bryan and Theresa Kerkaert. The city had offered $540,000 to buy the property for a shared city/county shop, and needed a commitment from the county for part of the cost, said Lyon County Administrator Loren Stomberg. The county's share in the building purchase would be one-third the total cost, or about $183,000, he said. Funding could be through insurance settlement money from the county shop fire, or other county sources, he said.
Cottonwood Clerk/Treasurer Kathy Dahl told commissioners the building owners were willing to accept the offer with some conditions, including that the city and county pay closing costs and the last half of the building's property taxes.
Commissioners voted in favor of committing to the building purchase, although there was some additional discussion. Lyon County Commissioner Rodney Stensrud said he thought the county should purchase its space in the building instead of leasing it from the city of Cottonwood and recommended that the county and city look into an agreement similar to one used by Lincoln County and the Minnesota Department of Transportation for shared facilities.
The offer to buy the building later came before the Cottonwood City Council at its regular meeting Tuesday night. Council members passed a motion approving the sale. Dahl said the city is looking at financing options to buy the building, including a municipal lease between North Star Mutual Insurance and the city. That option will be the subject of an informational public hearing on Sept. 18. The hearing will be at 7:05 p.m. in the Cottonwood Senior Center.