Citizen’s Building up for saleWhen the Goodhue County Board officially decided Tuesday not to combine its human services delivery with the rest of the region, commissioners were able to turn their focus back to determining what to do about a Health and Human Services building.
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
When the Goodhue County Board officially decided Tuesday not to combine its human services delivery with the rest of the region, commissioners were able to turn their focus back to determining what to do about a Health and Human Services building.
In the past, they’ve tossed around ideas such as remodeling the current Public Health building, updating the Citizen’s Building or constructing a brand new facility to hold all HHS employees.
Staff used to be split between the Public Health and Citizen’s buildings, but when environmental hazards were discovered in the Public Health building in May, changes were promptly made. Employees are now split between the Government Center and the Citizen’s Building.
“We are happy that there was space that we were able to come to,” HHS Director Nina Arneson said.
Although the people have been moved, some supplies and resources remain.
“We have gotten everybody into this building,” administrative assistant Stacy Thuman said of the Government Center, “but we don’t have all of their stuff.”
Despite having a temporary “home,” the HHS department still isn’t achieving its ultimate goal of relocation into a single facility. In order to work toward that goal, the County Board wants to start by getting the Citizen’s Building off its hands.
“That’s a big piece of moving forward, is unloading that,” Commissioner Dan Rechtzigel said.
The building needs some updates, but the board hopes to find a buyer that wants to purchase the facility as is.
“We’re interested in doing as little as we can with it,” Commissioner Jim Bryant said.
Longtime Realtor Tom Brown with Lawrence Realty attended the board’s Committee of the Whole meeting Tuesday to give some input based on his experience. Brown said the building could have a lot of potential uses, including residential possibilities, and told the board to choose a buyer carefully.
“Whoever you put in there is going to be your neighbor so you want to be mindful of the long-term implications,” Brown said.
While commissioners in the past have discussed selling the building for $1, Administrator Scott Arneson thinks there’s more money to be made.
“Our assessor was in here and said there is value there,” Arneson told the board.
Staff was directed at Tuesday’s meeting to develop marketing strategies for the Citizen’s Building, in hopes of making a sale sooner rather than later.
“We’ll probably set up an RFP process,” Scott Arneson said, referring to a request for proposal.
If bids come in, the board will hear about them at its next meeting July 2.