Letter: Selling Citizens Building not in citizens' best interestThe Goodhue County Citizens Building was constructed in 1930 and is a jewel among Red Wing’s historical buildings.
By: Ron Allen, The Republican Eagle
To the Editor:
The Goodhue County Citizens Building was constructed in 1930 and is a jewel among Red Wing’s historical buildings. The only purpose for selling the building is to give the County Board an excuse to build a new Human Service Building beside the Government Center for about $8 million.
Public Health and Social Services merged into one department in August 2010. The new department is called Health and Human Services and currently is located in the Citizens Building and Government Center.
It is the goal of many in administration to relocate the staffs of both departments to one building. This is why we have a request for a new building for this integrated department.
In August 2011, I didn’t support a $500,000 study to design a new Human Service Building. I argued that we could not vacate the Citizens Building and have an empty county building.
One year later, other County Board members have slowed the process so we could finally develop a plan for the Citizens Building. We do not need additional empty store or office space in any part of Goodhue County.
I hope we can attract a new business into Red Wing to occupy the Citizens Building to create jobs. I will listen to all proposals at an upcoming board meeting. Outside the offer of a new business employing 60 or more people at this site, I will continue to support keeping the Citizens Building as office space for county employees.
If the goal is to relocate the Human Service Department into one building, then the Government Center should become the new Human Service Building. The Citizens Building should be renovated and become the County Administration office along with several of the other departments now located in the Government Center.
Prior to the relocation of human service workers into the Government Center several months ago, there were only six county employees working on the top floor. Yes, there is a courtroom on the top floor which is only used several weeks a year.
We need to relocate this room to space designed for this purpose at the Justice Center and free up the entire building for the Human Service Department/County Government. This will give the county the efficiencies of an integrated Health and Human Services Department without burdening the taxpayer with an $8 million expense/loan to pay for a new building in these difficult economic times.
Ron Allen represents Goodhue County District 1.