Austin firm awarded contract for jail project

Published 2:32 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008

Lee Hansen and Hansen Hauling and Excavating Inc. submitted the low bid for building pad preparations for the new Mower County Jail and Justice Center.

The Mower County Board of Commissioners awarded the Austin firm a contract at a meeting Dec. 4 after reviewing bids with Mower County Highway Department engineer Mike Hanson.

Nine bids were received for the project from contractors in Wells, Goodhue, Faribault, Albert Lea, St. Paul and Austin ranging from a high of $236,060 or 32 percent over the engineer’s estimate, to Hansen’s low bid of $148,860, which was 17 percent below the engineer’s estimate.

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The county engineer estimated the project would cost $179,000.

The commissioners unanimously approved the Austin firm’s low bid.

According to Hanson, the work will begin this week.

The city of Austin is finalizing its attempts to acquire the remaining three properties in the two-block area where the new jail and justice center facilities are to be built.

The hold-out property owners are owners of Steve’s Pizza, Anytime Fitness Center and the old Colonial Bar buildings.

Steve and Angie Davis have agreed to sell their property, but will be allowed until March 1 to remain at their present location along Second Avenue Northeast.

Owners of the other two properties will have to relinquish possession to the city immediately after losing appeals in district court that the buildings could not be taken for public purposes.

According to county officials and staff, pad preparations in the two-block area will begin working around the Steve’s Pizza property.

The owners must wait until Dec. 31, when Lisa Granle plans to close her Granle’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery business at the corner of North Main Street and Fourth Avenue Northeast, where the new Steve’s Pizza will be located.

Mower County is paying the city of Austin $2.7 million to acquire the nine properties and make the space ready for construction of the jail and justice center.