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  Saturday January 31st, 2015    

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Answers to Masonic needs Tuesday (09/03/2014)
By Chris Rogers
Winonans will have a better idea next week of the repairs the Masonic Temple needs and how much it will cost. On Tuesday, the Winona City Council will review the final version of an engineering report on the building. Currently, city staff believes that repairing the roof is the Masonic Temple's most urgent and important need. The final engineering report might confirm that, or it might identify more pressing needs, shifting the city's priorities, said Park and Recreation Community Services Director Chad Ubl. The final report will also include more accurate cost estimates for repairs the city knows the building needs in the midterm, such as replacing the backdrop rigging system, upgrading the heating, plumbing and electrical systems, and tuck pointing. Currently, the city plans to spend $3.5 million on those and other repairs over the next five years.

The state of the building's roof trusses, which support the roof, will remain uncertain. Previous evaluations of the building highlighted the trusses as potential items of concern, and experts advised that before replacing the roof, the city should make sure they can support the weight. Greater investigation of the roof trusses is planned for next year, as part of a $218,000 project. The city hopes half of the funding for that project will come from a state historic preservation grant.

Engineering consultants will present their final report to the City Council on Tuesday, September 2, at 5:45 p.m. in the council chambers on the third floor of city hall, at Fourth and Lafayette streets. The meeting is open to the public.

City proposes fee increases

City fees for sign permits, park facility rentals, recreation facility memberships, all sorts of building and repair permits, rental permits, and city maps, are slated to increase incrementally under a proposed 2015 schedule. Nonprofits would pay $5 more to reserve city ball fields, shelters, and lodges, with prices rising from $10-20 per hour to $15-25 per hour. Daily rentals for private citizens will go up from $150-200 per day to $160-210 per day. Pool membership costs will increase from $36.50 to $40 and daily rates will go from $3 to $4. Memberships at the Lake Park Lodge will go up from $5 to $10. Friendship Center yearly passes will go up from $45 to $55 for members. Non-members will see a similar increase.

Fees at Prairie Island Campground, liquor license fees, and charges to apply for variances and appeal Board of Adjustment decisions are all slated to go up slightly.

The council will vote on the proposed fee schedule on Tuesday, September 2, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. 


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