Kiel continues to plan ahead
By Mike Mathes
Two major projects unfolded in 2013 and will culminate sometime this year for the city of Kiel. A new Kiel Police Station was constructed, and is expected to be in full use in March. Renovations continue at City Hall. Funds for the projects, about $2 million in all, were provided by long-term borrowing, to be paid off from annual growth in tax revenues from retired Kiel tax incremental districts.

Two key facilities in the nerve center of Kiel’s city government are nearing completion of major construction and renovation projects.

The brand new Kiel Police Department building is expected to be staffed and operational next month. Work on major infrastructure renovations at the Kiel City Hall will continue throughout this year.

Both projects, coming to a total cost of approximately $2 million, are the culmination of efforts to upgrade the city’s most visible nerve center.

The new police station will give the department a modernized facility with expanded room for standard police operations.

Mayor Mike Steinhardt said, “The project is really looking good. This is a facility that will last the community many years into the future.”

He added that the facility will be a tremendous upgrade from the cramped conditions the KPD has operated out of for many years. “They deserve a nice working environment. This is a real quality designed and constructed building.”

Next step in process

Although significant work has already been accomplished on the city hall renovation, the vacation of the current police department area will open the door for the installation of new bathrooms on the first floor of city hall, as well as other renovations.

That work is expected to be bid shortly and started in early March.

From that point, the city also has plans to do external landscaping, work on the pillars and cement at the front of city hall and other interior improvements.

“We will wait and see how much funding we have left before we decide which projects to complete,” City Administrator Dennis Dedering said.

Mayor Steinhardt added that the budget on the buildings looks good at this point. “We will start setting up a capital account for city hall improvements moving forward, for ongoing maintenance needs,” he added.

Capital budget planning for all departments has become the norm, as the city makes use of annual tax revenue from retired TID’s. Each department is budgeted an annual amount, and asked to build a fund for future needs.

Plans for street, building

City officials are currently studying the possibilities for the segment of Paine Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets.

Mayor Steinhardt said the city intends to form an overall plan for the street, including the possibility widening the street to the south and returning to two-lane traffic. Last year, the city acquired the former Aurora clinic building on the corner of Seventh and Paine, and it’s future will also be reviewed as part of the plan.

Positioning for the future

This spring the city will be in the process of seeking approval to create the fifth tax incremental district in the city. That district, which would include industrial and commercial properties on Kiel’s northwest side, has positive ramifications for city infrastructure needs.

The proposed TID#5 would provide opportunities to promote expansions for industries such as Amerequip and Land O’Lakes.

In addition to serving the industries, the TID would allow the city to use tax incremental dollars to make improvements to some of its aging streets and sewers from Fourth Street to the west, along with water and sewer infrastructure in those areas.

Early plans indicate that the proposed

TID could help with an upgrade of Sixth Street, and later Fourth Street

Anchor industries

Mayor Steinhardt said the formation of the TID and cooperation with existing industries are the type of economic development efforts that work best in

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