Winona council eyes sr. center, logging cleanup, and $2.7M levee repair




The potential new East Rec Center, flood control changes, and post-logging cleanup in Woodlawn Cemetery are all scheduled for consideration at the next Winona City Council meeting. 

During an informational session just before the regular meeting, Parks and Recreation Director Chad Ubl and ISG architectural firm will present updated plans for the East Rec Center remodel. 

In an interview with the Post, Ubl said the plans have not substantially changed from when they were first presented in August of last year, but they had been refined. He described the moment as a checkpoint, wherein nearly-completed plans would be presented to the council in case they want to make changes before the design phase officially ends. ISG would present both exterior and interior images of the design, he said. Ubl said the refinements included a fleshed-out plan for a community garden as well as a better illustration of how the building fits into the rest of the street. 

As to the feasibility of the project as a whole amid an economic downturn, Ubl said that was yet to be determined. “Council still needs to identify a funding source and authorize us to go out for bid,” Ubl said. Work on construction documents would begin immediately after the council meeting, he said. 


Woodlawn Cemetery seeks city aid for logging cleanup

The city is also scheduled to decide whether or not to enter into a partnership with Woodlawn Cemetery to jointly fund the cleanup of land that, while owned by the cemetery, is home to a walking trail rather than graves. A city memo quoted Woodlawn superintendent Tim Leahy as saying the cemetery had hired a logger to selectively cut down trees in the area but was ultimately disappointed by this logger leaving the land “in poor shape.” Cleanup would involve removing excess wood material from the logging and putting it in a wood chipper. 

Woodlawn proposes splitting the projected $15,000 cost of cleanup with the city 50/50 and beginning the procedure March 8, before the spring thaw makes the logging trails impassable. 


Gilmore Creek may see $2.7-million levee improvements

Analysis of the levee section that faces Gilmore Creek found that several areas were not high enough to be certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). This in turn means that the area near the levee would be classified by FEMA as being part of the floodplain, unless the city shores up the levee. Property owners in the floodplain would have to spend more on flood insurance as a result. To avoid that scenario, the city would need to come up with $2.7 million to bring its levees up to par. City staff envision funding half of the cost through an Economic Development Authority grant and half through capital investment or “bonding” money awarded by the Minnesota Legislature. On Monday, the city is slated to decide whether or not to send out a call for RFPs, or proposals, from contractors to do the work.


How to tune in 

The informational session begins at 5:15 p.m. and the regular meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Those wishing to attend either meeting can go to to Zoom in. The meeting ID is 896 465 916 and the password is 207207. To join by phone, dial 1-312-626-6799 and enter the same meeting ID as the online version. 


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