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Cloquet Council to vote on sale of public safety building

As the Cloquet Police Department prepares to move out of the Public Safety Building, the Cloquet Area Fire District is looking to gain total ownership of the building currently owned by the city.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, the Cloquet City Council will vote whether to sell the building to CAFD for $1, under the condition the CAFD foots the repair bills.

"Part of the quality is they're taking away a real burden for us," Councilor David Bjerkness said of the transfer of ownership for a $1.

The building, which houses the CPD and CAFD, needs an estimated $260,000 in immediate repairs, according to CAFD and Boldt Construction's survey of the facility. Repairs include roofing, redoing the bathrooms, plumbing and electrical work.

But CAFD is already making plans to move out of the Public Safety Building, which means the CAFD would be responsible for selling the building when the time came. It would also get to keep any profits on the sale.

The time likely won't come for another three to five years, Fire Chief Kevin Schroeder said, though CAFD already has the land where it would build.

CAFD acquired 13.2 acres in donated property from the Jarden Corp. before the match mill closed last year. The lot is located along Minnesota Highway 45, across from Sappi and next to the Jarden Home Brands building.

"From a fire department deployment point of view, it's an excellent location," Schroeder said. The new location will also allow for the merging of CAFD and the Scanlon Fire Department into one building.

CAFD has plans in place for the new building, but the process can't begin until a technical language error in state legislation is fixed.

The department hopes to have the renovations costs paid off in three to four years, before it moves to its new location, Schroeder said.

The CPD and the city will move into the Members Cooperative Credit Union building sometime around April.

As for what will become of City Hall, the city has a purchase agreement to sell the building to Carlton County.

Andee Erickson

Andee Erickson has been a reporter with the Pine Journal since November 2018. She studied journalism and geography at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, while working at the Leader-Telegram newspaper on weekends. She graduated in 2018. Erickson's from southern Minnesota, but started viewing the north as home after interning for the Duluth News Tribune in the summer of 2017.