Spring Lake Park to close on Cemstone

The Spring Lake Park City Council came to a consensus Nov. 18 to close with Cemstone before the end of the year, purchasing the property at 8502 Central Ave. NE.

The city of Spring Lake Park will close on the purchase of the Cemstone building for $585,000 by the end of the year. File photo
The city of Spring Lake Park will close on the purchase of the Cemstone building for $585,000 by the end of the year. File photo

The city will buy the former Cemstone building for $585,000 and use it to house public works and police department equipment.

The purchase agreement was signed back in August, but delay after delay with environmental concerns has prevented closing.

Now, City Attorney Jeff Carson said he feels “comfortable” moving forward.

When soil samples came back with higher-than-normal levels of some chemicals in August, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency became involved.

Steven Banovetz, a project manager with Thatcher Engineering, the company that performed the limited site investigation at Cemstone for the MPCA, contacted Cemstone earlier this month to say that he will recommend the MPCA close its leak file with no significant contamination.

“As there is no risk to the public from soil, groundwater or soil gas contamination, I am confident that [the MPCA] will agree with the findings of the LSI and grant closure of the leak site,” Banovetz wrote.

Although Banovetz is confident the MPCA will close the file, the agency has the power to keep it open.

Carson drafted a letter of undertaking that requires Cemstone to handle any requests of the MPCA should the agency decide not to close the file for some reason.

“I’m comfortable that Cemstone is a stand-up company,” Carson said.

If Cemstone says it will continue to work with the city and it does so in contract, it will, he said.

“They are not a fly-by-night company here in town,” Carson said.

Councilman Bob Nelson was less trusting than Carson. Down the road, if Cemstone wouldn’t do as it promised and the city had to take the company to court, Nelson wanted a clause that would obligate Cemstone to indemnify the city for Carson’s legal fees.

“I don’t see why they would reject that,” Carson said, calling it a “very good idea,” although he does not think the city will need to rely on it.

“Lots of things in life we don’t think we need,” Nelson said.

The funds to pay for the Cemstone building will come from proceeds of a 10-year general obligation capital improvement bond, sold at a special meeting Nov. 25.

The general and public utilities renewal and replacement funds will contribute equally to the annual debt service.

Local government aid from the state will pad the general fund, so there is no expected increase to the property tax levy, City Administrator Dan Buchholtz said.

Olivia Koester is at [email protected]