Later this week, north metro residents could have another option to be vaccinated close to home.
The Lino Lakes City Council has approved a resolution authorizing city staff to enter into a license agreement with the state of Minnesota to use the YMCA building/future recreation center, as a COVID-19 vaccination site.
Jamie Wallerstedt, of the State Emergency Operations Center, thanked city staff for working so quickly to get the site up and running. “Staff really responded well, fast, were very willing to talk about all of our ideas to bring this vaccination site to your community,” she said at the March 30 special meeting. “We are really looking forward to having this opportunity for your city, your county and the surrounding communities in the north metro.”
Last winter, the city was approached by the state to possibly use the YMCA facility as a testing facility, but nothing ever transpired.
Community Development Director Michael Grochala explained that under the agreement, which runs from April 5 through June 30, the state has agreed to pay up to $81,099 for use of the facility. The rental fee accounts for base rent, utility and cleaning costs, as well as minor building alterations.
As of now, Grochala said the hours will likely be 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends, but all of that is subject to change. The site is meant to serve as a regional center for residents of Anoka County, Washington County and perhaps some of Ramsey County.
Mayor Rob Rafferty and Council Member Christopher Lyden wanted to know how the base rent was calculated. Grochala explained that they based it off of the current lease rate they have with New Creations Child Care and Learning Center, which leases space at City Hall. He said it came out to be about $10 per square foot, or $37,000 total over the three months.
Council Member Michael Ruhland wanted an update on how the state of Minnesota is doing in terms of vaccines administered. Wallerstedt noted that since she is on the operations side of setting up vaccine sites, she is not up to date on the latest numbers. “What I can tell you,” she explained, “is that we are working to get our vaccines out the doors within seven days of getting them into the state.”
Other council members wanted to know the likelihood of the state needing the facility beyond June 30. Wallerstedt said that has yet to be determined. But by June 30, she noted, they are projecting they will be able to get a lot of vaccines out to members of the population that want it.
The City Council is still waiting for the final feasibility study report from Isaac Sports Group (ISG) for the future operations of the YMCA facility. The report is now expected in mid-April. Council Member Dale Stoesz wanted to know whether the city would be able to start prepping the aquatics area of the building in June for the next tenant. Wallerstedt said the city would have access to the facility, and that there would just need to be an open line of communication between the state and the city so patient privacy is protected.
Council Member Tony Cavegn wanted to know who will work at the vaccination site. Wallerstedt explained that the state’s vendor, a company called Specialists, already has local medical staff lined up to work at the site.
The layout of the vaccination site was not fully decided as of press time. Wallerstedt said the state is still weighing the pros and cons for different layout options. She said the state will likely have one-way flow of traffic throughout the building, and also considering ADA-accessible ramps to allow an exit out of the gym or multipurpose room.
Although things are very much still in motion, Grochala estimated that the site would be operational later this week.
Lead Editor Shannon Granholm can be reached at 651-407-1227 or firstname.lastname@example.org.