AACA asks city to donate Parks & Rec site; Boards set to kick off 2017

Published 10:17 am Monday, January 2, 2017

Three local government boards are welcoming the new year by kicking off business this week a the Mower County Board, Austin City Council and Austin School Board all meet this week. Here’s what they’ll be discussing:

Austin City Council

Two new Austin City Council members will hit the ground running Tuesday by discussing a big potential donation to the Austin Area Commission for the Arts.

The council is set to discuss whether to donate the current Austin Parks, Recreation & Forestry site at 121 Fourth Ave. NE to the AACA so it can expand the Paramount Theatre.

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The AACA approached the city a few years ago about donating the building, and now Parks & Rec is slated to move to City Hall into office space formerly occupied by Austin Utilities, which moved last year to its new Service and Operations Center.

The AACA would be responsible for all legal costs pertaining to the transfer, should it move forward, as well as maintenance of the building and sidewalk.

Incoming City Council member Laura Helle was hired as director of the AACA late last year.

The Paramount expansion is a long-term goal of the AACA. Adding a lobby, rest rooms and wings to the theater are on the wish list for the expansion.

The Austin City Council meets for a regular meeting at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday meeting at City Hall, 500 Fourth Ave. NE. A work session will follow in the conference room. The AACA discussion is part of the work session.

The city will swear in new council members Helle and Paul Fischer, as well as returning member Steve King and Mayor Tom Stiehm, who both won re-election after running unopposed.

The city will also discuss feasibility reports on several street improvement projects and Feb. 21 public hearings to discuss them.

County board

Mower County will hold its first meeting of the year at 1 p.m. Tuesday in the basement board room of the Mower County Government Center, 201 First St. NE.

The board will elect a chair and vice chair for 2017 and set several annual fees, appointments, appropriations, a legal publisher and other annual business.

The board is also scheduled to hear a conditional use permit request for a home in Windom Township.

Austin Public School Board

The Austin School Board is set to welcome in its newest member, Carolyn Dube, during its first 2017 meeting at 3 p.m. Wednesday in the district conference room at Austin High School, 401 Third Avenue NW.

The board will elect a chair, vice chair, clerk and treasurer. It will also set a legal publisher and discuss board committees.