The Park Rapids City Council on Tuesday approved engineering plans ordered a request for bids to build a new city well and make improvements to the city’s water treatment facility.

City Engineer Jon Olson with Apex Engineering Group delivered the specifications for the project. Olson asked the city to advertise for bids to be opened at 2 p.m. on Aug. 20 and brought to the council on Aug. 25.

According to Olson, the plan calls for adding a new, “redundant” Well 10 as a backup for Well 9, currently the only well contributing to the city’s drinking water supply.

Since the two wells will not run at the same time, he said, this will not put any additional stress on the aquifer. He said having a redundant well is a recommended practice.

Meanwhile, other improvements include:

  • Sealing Wells 5-8, which are no longer in service due to water quality issues; the city has received a grant to pay part of this cost.

  • Rerouting Well 9 water lines into the treatment plant to a depth that will resolve concerns about lines freezing.

  • Replacing non-functional valves, pipes, and filter screens.

  • Replacing problematic chemical feed pumps, lines and injection points “at elevations that are suitable for frequent maintenance.”

  • Replacing three of four electric heaters in the facility with natural gas, which Olson said will be far more energy efficient.

Olson estimated construction costs of $450,000 to upwards of $500,000. He said construction could start this summer, continue through the winter and finish in the spring.

“We’re getting pretty late in the season to be doing well work and exterior work,” he added. “We’re going to give the contractor the option to provide a deduct for doing the well work in the spring.”

Council member Bob Wills moved to approve the plans. The motion passed unanimously.

Computer purchases

Council member Erika Randall pulled from the consent agenda a purchase request for eight laptop computers from Dell for $10,672, using CARES Act funds, to allow city employees to work remotely.

Randall urged staff to consider replacing obsolete desktop computers with dockable laptops, allowing employees to plug in accessories, such as large computer monitors, rather than limiting them to working off the laptop screen.

City Administrator Ryan Mathisrud said the intent of the purchase was to replace office desktops dating back to 2016 or older.

Randall noted that not all laptop computers are compatible with all docking stations. Adding that staff has been coping with working at home and equipment issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began, she said they can wait a little longer to ensure city funds are handled responsibly.

Other council members agreed to refer the purchase request back to staff, asking them to bring back pricing for laptops with docking stations.

In consent items and general business, the council:

  • Purchased four directional sign panels from Airfield Guidancesign Manufacturers, Inc. for $1,948 plus shipping, to replace panels that were faded and that Airport Engineer Matt Zitzow said would not pass the lighting inspection by MnDOT Aeronautics. Mathisrud explained that funding for the purchase comes from a $30,000 Federal Aviation Administration grant for airport maintenance and operations, received last month and funded by the U.S. Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

  • Purchased a portable radio for the police department from Midstates Wireless at the state contract bid price of $4,388, including accessories and programming. This is to replace a failed radio of an older model that can no longer be purchased or repaired.

  • Accepted the resignation of Ruth Ann Campton from the Parks and Beautification Board.

  • Granted a transient merchant license to Kevin Einafshar with L&G Concessions to sell Trump merchandise July 17-20 at Angelic Enterprises, 1107 1st St. E.

  • Granted a public facilities use permit to the Park Rapids Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce to close the second block of Main Ave. S. from 3 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27 for the Christmas tree lighting ceremony.

  • Approved payables totaling $121,787 and prepaids totaling $191,747.

The city council’s next meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12 at city hall.