The Brookings City Council officially “baptized” its new home Tuesday, holding its first official meeting in the Brookings City & County Government Center. The council wasn’t the first to use the third-floor chambers, though – the Brookings County Commission met there for the first time Tuesday morning, and the city planning commission held its session there the night before. Ken Curley/Register
• Councilors also hear plan for Sixth Street commercial development
BROOKINGS – Councilor Tom Bezdichek had it right: it’s unusual for the Brookings City Council to make it through a meeting without a discussion of beer or liquor or the licensing thereof, and this week was no exception.
The council used its first meeting in the new Brookings City & County Government Center to pass an ordinance relating to microbreweries.
Observers will be pleased, Bezdichek joked, “that we at are at least talking about some type of brewing product” in the new facility.
In fact, the council took action on several issues involving previously announced commercial ventures in Brookings.
The beer discussion and vote provided updated information about the Wooden Legs Brewing Co. microbrewery in downtown Brookings, and the council followed that action with approval of design changes for a planned commercial building on Sixth Street and 13th Avenue.
The Wooden Legs microbrewery was announced months ago, expected to set up shop in the former Northwestern Energy headquarters at 311 Fifth St. The target startup date came and went.
Now, however, the principals in the operation have noted on their website that in the time since they announced the microbrewery, they’ve refined their product and are about to launch their commercial establishment. They plan to restart work at the downtown location this fall.
The ordinance passed unanimously Tuesday by the city council, specifically permitting a microbrewery in the downtown business area, paves the way for Wooden Legs.
The owner of the building confirmed that the microbrewery project is “on,” but that the actual start of construction will begin with the arrival of materials.
Tom Strubel, another craft beer maker and owner of Heist Brewing Company in Brookings, appeared before the council to thank the group for considering modifying the city ordinance to permit downtown microbrewery establishments.
Approval, he said, would create “a positive change in the way my business can help out the community.”
Strubel said it would be part of his plan to “bring more tourism into the community and develop my business further.”
Before the vote, in full disclosure, the mayor cheerfully told his fellow council members that he had received a free beer from Heist Brewing – “and maybe several.” He did not, however, abstain from voting on the ordinance.
Owner Brian Gatzke appeared before council to detail modifications to a planned development district his business created in 2009.
Gatzke Family Enterprises LLC announced then that it would build a commercial retail building on property it owns at the intersection of Sixth Street and 13th Avenue.
With the national economic downturn, Gatzke put his plans on hold, but he now says he’s ready to begin again. The Brookings businessman is currently planning for a construction start in spring 2013.
The development would be in the general area local planners have identified as the “southeast corridor,” a mixed-use area that would serve the large student population on the southeastern corner of the SDSU campus.
Initially, the developer had proposed a large commercial retail building with several apartments on a second floor, but the 2012 plan will include a somewhat smaller commercial center and a row of townhouses.
Gatzke says the new building fronting Sixth Street will be about 150 feet long by 48 feet wide – encompassing 7,200 square feet – and will include space for a variety of retail or service businesses.
Immediately to the south of the commercial center – behind it – would be a standalone building featuring eight townhouse-style apartments. The two-bedroom units would each include a garage.
The commercial center and townhomes would have a dual-access drive on 13th Avenue, but traffic could exit onto Sixth Street as well.
The city planning commission had previously given unanimous approval to Gatzke’s modifications, and the council followed suit.
The developer must still submit and win approval for a final plan for the Sixth Street construction, but he’s already completed an extensive, city-required drainage study of the property and the impact of its development.
Gatzke produced a bill for the drainage study that showed it cost more than $16,800.
“This is just for the study, not for the (drainage) work,” he said. “I just wanted the public to understand this is not a cheap deal, when they go into drainage studies. This is an expensive thing. The drainage plan was implemented by the city after we acquired the property.”
In addition to awarding the contract for the 32nd Avenue road extension project, the council reviewed bids on new carpeting for the city’s public safety center and for waste paper recycling for city offices.
Barrett’s Flooring and Decorating Center of Brookings won the contract for the carpeting with a low bid of $13,404, and the three-year recycling contract went to Cook’s Wastepaper and Recycling for $2,850 per month. The Cook’s bid is actually about $1,800 per year lower than its previous five-year contract.
In its work session prior to the regular meeting, the council reviewed the city’s preliminary capital improvement plan which details anticipated expenditures on a department-by-department basis.
The document, a part of the budget process, lays out actual and potential needs for the next five years.
Contact Ken Curley at email@example.com.