WALKER - Cass County now owns Ah-Gwah-Ching property and the buildings on it.
Alan VanBuskirk, Minnesota Department of Human Services, brought a state-signed deed to the property to the Cass County Board meeting Tuesday. Board Chair Jeff Peterson signed the deed on behalf of the county board.
The deed was recorded at the county recorder's office shortly before noon.
Following a board vote to complete the purchase, VanBuskirk thanked the board for the county's cooperation over the last few years to make the state sale to the county possible.
The board presented VanBuskirk a certificate of appreciation for the state's cooperation.
Peterson also signed contracts enabling the demolition contractor to take possession of the property and begin demolishing infrastructure and buildings at the former state tuberculosis and nursing home treatment center site.
By special legislative action, the county purchased 75.6 acres for $1.
Cass County proposes to construct - over the next 25 to 30 years - buildings on the site to replace current county buildings now on a land-locked downtown Walker site.
A portion of the county acreage also is proposed to be used for a critical access hospital and health care campus.
The state transferred 39.6 acres of Leech Lake shoreline from the Human Services Department to the DNR to be developed as a wildlife management area and retained 55.8 acres north of the Ah-Gwah-Ching cut-across road.
VanBuskirk said the state plans to offer that north parcel for public sale in July. By November, the successful purchaser will be required to prepare plans and engineering designs to connect to sewer and water utilities that the city and county plan to extend from the city of Walker to Ah-Gwah-Ching.
Part of the state funding being made available to Cass County under agreements will cover the cost for extending sewer and water lines and providing service to eventual county and health care buildings.
Any successful private bidder for the remaining state property would have to pay his/her own costs to connect to the main lines being extended from Walker.
Building demolition work is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 31 and water main work is scheduled for Nov. 1 completion, with the total sewer and water work to be completed June 15, 2009.
With the first phase of new county building construction proposed for the county's court system, on Tuesday, the county board delayed action on bids received to upgrade the heating, cooling and air-handling system in the original courthouse portion of the county's downtown Walker facilities.
Bids ran significantly higher than architectural estimates of $61,500. The low bid - by Thielen Heating and Roofing of Brainerd - was $79,900, with others as high as $84,885.
Commissioners Jim Demgen and Jim Dowson, serving as the board's courthouse design committee, will evaluate reasons for the bid-estimate differential and consider how much the board wants to spend on the old buildings at a time when new buildings are proposed.
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