Aldermen discuss mural placement

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

On Tuesday, March 4, Jim LeGrande presented his vision for a mural of Concordia's history in the Concordia Community Center. The question on the Concordia Board of Aldermen minds is now where to place it. It's currently slated for the south wall of the Rolf building at the corner of South Main and South-west 6th streets. However, city attorney Robert Schneiders presented some issues with a mural being placed on private property if city funds are used in its procurement.

"Your obligation with any city fund is to expend city funds in a way that is in the best interest of the city," he said. "If you spend money that specifically benefits an individual or a property owner, then you have a heightened level of scrutiny."

He added nothing is preventing the aldermen from using city funds from having the mural on the Rolf building, but there has to be a justifiable reason for the improvement of the property over improvement for the city.

City Administrator Dale Klussman suggested possibly using the east wall of city hall for the mural's placement.

"I think there are some advantages to putting it there," he said. "If you were coming from I-70 and it was on the south side of the Rolf building, you would miss it. If you were coming from the south heading north, you would see it. Here you would see it coming and going from both directions."

Another suggestion Klussman offered was having the painting on an alumalite panel -- two aluminum panels with a corrugated plastic core -- which would allow for placement of the mural at any number of locations. He said he made these suggestions to the Concordia Heritage Society but didn't want to proceed without consideration of the aldermen.

"I feel it would put us in a more advantageous ability to explain what we're doing with the funds, than if we try to go out and improve another person's building."

Schneiders added if the mural were to stay at the Rolf building the city would have no control what any current or future owner of the building would do with the mural.

"If they want to paint over it, they're going to paint over it and your mural is going to be gone," he said.

Alderman Michael Brown inquired about insurance for the mural. Would the owner of the building's insurance be coverage or would it be the city's responsibility. The cost of the mural is projected to cost approximately $10-12,000. Schneiders was not able to answer to Brown's inquiry at this time.

Alderman Larry Schnakenberg said Dennis Rolf is willing to have the mural on his building but wonders who will maintain the mural. Mayor Don Holtcamp inquired how many years Rolf would be willing to have the mural on his building. Schnakenberg said Rolf is willing to have the mural on his building for at least five years.

"The city has the capability through an escrow fund to actually have the capability of receiving funds to make sure the painting goes up but is also maintained," said Klussman, referring back to having the painting on city hall, and adding it could be covered through the city's insurance.

He also said he didn't want to take the mural project away because it is something that would assist downtown. Schnakenberg said many groups are interested in the mural, including Concordia Main Street, the Lions Club and the tourism committee. Aldermen had no objections to Klussman communicating with the Concordia Area Heritage Society about the possibility of having the mural on city hall.

"We don't want to take it completely out of their hands," said Alderman Mark Luetjen regarding the heritage society's work.

Related story:
"Mural, mural on the wall: Artist shares vision with community"

City Beat
-- Aldermen voted to close the Trail of Memories Transportation Enhancement Fund due to project completion.

-- voted to close the Filter Membrane and Distribution Repair and Replacement Fund -- with any remaining monies in the fund to be transferred to Fund 45 -- The Water System Surplus Fund -- on March 31, to close the fund.

-- voted to advertise requests for proposals and bids for the mowing of three groups of properties in Concordia and at the Edwin A. Pape Lake, the preparation of financial statements and related notes for the city and for a two-year service for the annual City of Concordia audit.

-- denied a request from Harland Mieser for the city to provide rock to place on his neighbor's property to slow washouts in the field east of Mieser's property. They denied the request because the rock would not be placed on Mieser's personal property and the field's likely terracing.

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