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Dickinson changes lighting plans, extends deadline for dowtown Elks Building landscaping

Press Photo by April Baumgarten The sidewalk of the Dickinson Elks Building sits unfinished Monday downtown. City Administrator Shawn Kessel said that adding lights to landscaping is cause for the delay.

Though another deadline for the Dickinson Elks Building landscaping has passed, the city administrator said Monday he will give a Tacoma, Wash., developer more time to make late adjustments.

Granville Brinkman signed an ordinance with the Dickinson City Commission that stated his company would finish the sidewalk and landscaping around the downtown building by Sunday. However, the city asked him to put in lights, which pushed his schedule back, he said.

"Therefore, anything related to the street lighting was additions," City Administrator Shawn Kessel said, adding he understands why there would be a delay.

Brinkman purchased the building from the city in 2005 for renovations. A 2007 fire caused delays, lawsuits and about $2.2 million in mortgages and liens, according to city officials.

The city gave him five extensions to complete the building. The Dickinson commissioners set aside $82,500 in reimbursements for landscaping. If he did not complete it by Sunday, the city could take his funds away, but the lights were not part of the original plan, Kessel said.

Brinkman is working to run conduits to the lights, which could take up to two weeks. He has also ordered lights, which may take three months to arrive and be installed.

"We're glad to see it is coming to a close and we're glad to be able to (provide) this asset back to the community," he said.

The lights will come out of the $82,500, Kessel said.

Restoration has been "extremely slow," said Sharon Tabert, Dickinson resident and downtown business owner, but she is glad it hasn't stopped.

"I would have more problems if they just didn't do a thing," she said. "It's a building downtown that I would hate to see not be down there, and it will benefit the downtown when and if it is ever done. He needs to get his act together."

Kessel will recommend that the city reimburse Brinkman, he said.

"We are obviously not going to reimburse everything. We are going to hold back some dollars until the project is done, but for the work that has been done, yes, he should receive reimbursement for it."

Brinkman also intends to plant trees that will fit the scenery, he said.