by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Otsego Public Works building has been renamed City Hall and now houses all city government offices. The former City Hall building has been renamed the Otsego Prairie Center and officials are deciding on a repurposed use for the facility.
“We talked a lot about functionality,” said Mayor Jessica Stockamp. “It made more sense that everything would be in one spot.”
The new City Hall was built in 2007 with offices on the first floor and an empty second floor to accommodate future growth.
The renovation includes new conference rooms and offices for building permits, planning, finance, code enforcement, city administration, and the city clerk. There is also some room left for future expansion.
The move also makes the facility more accessible for visitors. Previously, the Public Works building did not have an administrative assistant to help direct people entering the building to the proper office.
“People would walk in, look around, and think ‘Where do I go?’” remembers Stockamp.
Now with everything in one place, the administrative assistant from City Hall will service all of the offices and be available to help residents as they enter the front door.
The build-out took full advantage of the facility’s large windows and the serene view of Prairie Park across the street.
“There was so much sunlight, I didn’t turn my lights on all day,” said City Administrator Lori Johnson of her first day in her new office.
The Prairie Center will now house offices for the Hennepin County sheriff, the Historic Preservation Commission and city council chambers, where the City Council will continue to hold their meetings.
Some recreational programming will be held there, as well, but the City Council and staff are working to determine a focused purpose for the rest of the space.
“We have some money set aside for renovations but we don’t want to use it until we know what residents want. We want to wait and use that money right,” Johnson said.
Some ideas include a meeting place for seniors and other groups, event hosting, and expanded recreational programming.
“There are five people on the council but we’re representing 14,000 people. I’ll bet there are a lot of great ideas out there that people can come up with,” said Stockamp.
They are hoping to gather ideas through the winter and be ready to offer new services to the public next spring.
The new City Hall is located at 13400 90th St. N.E., across the street from the old facility and adjacent park.