North Mankato eyes $65M 5-year capital plan

Sep. 18—NORTH MANKATO — North Mankato City Council members are looking at a 5-year capital improvement plan that would include a new $18 million public works facility in upper North Mankato in 2026, a $25.5 million indoor recreation facility at Caswell Park in 2025, a variety of street and sewer projects as well as new equipment.

At its work session Monday night the council reviewed a $65.1 million plan for 2024 to 2028. The plan is $22.3 million more than the 2023-2027 capital plan.

City staff said three main things brought the significant increase in the new 5-year plan.

First, several items were moved from the general fund to the capital fund. The previous city administration had placed things in the general fund that staff said should rightly be in the capital fund.

There are also two new departments that were created in recent years that have been moved into the capital fund "so we could be more transparent," the memo said.

Finally, new Public Works Director Luke Arnold reviewed items in his department and updated their cost estimates based on inflation and the year they're projected to take place, "which has not been done in quite some time," the staff memo said.

Arnold said the $18 million cost of a new public works building is based on the facility being built on land the city already owns. He said they will not build on the existing site on Webster Avenue but are looking at different city-owned land in upper North Mankato.

The city revisits and updates its 5-year plan each year, sometimes adding new projects and sometimes pushing projects further into the future.

The budget also includes $1.3 million of identified but not scheduled projects.

The newest plan includes moving the Caswell indoor recreation project, originally scheduled for this year to 2025.

The $25.5 million facility would include $10.75 million from the city sales tax with $12.75 million being requested in state bonding money. Because earlier bonding requests were not approved by the Legislature, the project has been moved out two years in hopes the bonding money will come through.

Carlson said that beyond the rec center the city will need to look at more improvements at the Caswell Sports complexes as they grow in popularity and use, including more parking and better access.

Other entries in the new plan include several street reconstruction projects.

There is $7.9 million in proposed projects for 2024, which includes $1.1 million for equipment replacement, $807,000 for pavement management and park improvements, $50,000 for the culture and recreation funds, $439,000 for the water fund, $420,000 for the sewer fund, $160,000 for the storm water fund and $4.9 million for bonded projects including a Northridge force main and lift station rehab, Hoover Drive and Sherman Street work and and ravine improvements.