Hastings approves bonding for roads, Civic Arena, city hall


The Hastings City Council approved issuance of $10 million in Charter Bonds to pay for three major upcoming projects at its meeting Tuesday, Feb. 20.
The bond issuance date of March 18 was also approved. Total cost of the bonds with interest estimated at 3.15 percent was projected at between $10.295 and $10.335 million. The bonds will be paid for over 10 years.
Under Charter Bonds, if all of the money isn’t spent on this year’s projects, money could be utilized for next year’s street project, City Administrator Dan Wietecha said.
Projects include:
•The annual Neighborhood Infrastructure projects – This year, work will be done east of Pleasant Drive and north of 15th Street on Highland Drive, Brittany Road, Brooke Lane, Brooke Court, 21st Street and 17th Street.
“It’s the neighborhood infrastructure project we do every year, sort of keep it on a rotating basis, making sure that as streets outlive their life, they get rebuilt. That is a large portion of this project,” said Dan Wietecha.
Project cost is projected at $4,125,000.
•The Hastings City Hall roof/dome replacement project, estimated at $600,000. Through bonding, the city was awarded $2 million toward the project but needs funds for a cost-share.
•The Hastings Civic Ice Area – Replacement of the refrigeration system and the roof over the west rink, as well as installing solar panels on the roof is projected at $5.2 million.
The city has put in a request with the Minnesota Legislature for bonding help on the project. If that money comes through in this year’s bonding package, additional funds could be held for next year.
Wietecha said the Charter Bonds are different from the bonding the city usually does, in that the funds not spent can be used in the future.
“It’s a different process than what we normally do. The reason we recommended this approach is to gain some flexibility,” he said. “If it (state bonding for the Civic Arena) came in with $2 million, suddenly our numbers are different, and we don’t need all that. We could carry that otherwise-arena cost forward to other Neighborhood Infrastructure Projects the following year. I think it was a good solution we worked through.”
With Charter Bonds, a community member could petition to oppose the projects, but that is unlikely to happen. If it were to happen, the city could hold a referendum on the Charter Bonding or “regroup and go back to a more typical bond issue this year,” said Wietecha.
“I certainly respect the process, respect input from our community. It honestly is something that rarely happens. It’s a possibility, but I don’t think it’s likely,” said Wietecha.
The council vote in support of the bonding resolution was unanimous.

Sidewalk cafes and parklets – With unseasonable temperatures, residents may be able to enjoy outdoor dining sooner this year.
The council approved applications for sidewalk cafes for American Legion Post 47, Froth & Cork, Lock and Dam Eatery, the Busted Nut and Spiral Brewery.
Parklets – built into the parking space in front of the restaurant – were approved for RiverCity Popcorn and Candy Co, The Busted Nut and Spiral Brewery.
Councilmember Tina Folch commented, “I just have to say how proud I am of the fact that our council has been supportive of parklets since the pandemic. It was a really stressful time, and I don’t want to go through it again, particularly being on the council. I have to say one of the good things that came out of the pandemic for our community is allowing these parklets,” she said. “I only have one more meeting after this, and I really do believe that this is a legacy that this council has brought forward, and it will continue a long duration of time. I’m glad to see our downtown thriving as a result.”
Folch’s last meeting as a city councilmember is March 11, as she has plans to get married and move out of the city.

Dakota 911 – There was an outage of the Dakota County 911 system for several hours Feb. 8.
City Councilmember Jen Fox serves on the Dakota County 911 Board.
“You maybe got a notification on your phone a couple weeks ago that our services were down. Last week, Dan (Wietecha) and I were at a board meeting. We were able to hear a little bit about what that was all about,” Fox said. “It was a failure of the primary 911 circuit, and it was related to a weather incident in Wisconsin. They’re still doing some research around the incident and why it happened and what actually happened. The most important thing that Executive Director Heidi Hieserich mentioned is that we’re taking steps to improve our contingency plans moving forward and making sure that those services never suffer again.