Fire that destroyed under-construction city hall was arson; reward offered

Critics of Lakeland's new city hall argued the half-finished building was unnecessary

Investigators say the fire that burned down a new city hall under construction in Lakeland, Minnesota, was intentionally set and a reward is now being offered for information about the arson case.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office says $5,000 is being offered through the Minnesota Arson Reward Project.

The fire was discovered at about 11:30 p.m. on Nov. 13. Anyone with information should call the Minnesota Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020 or leave a tip online here.

Debate over the city hall project

Lakeland is a town of about 1,800 on the St. Croix River not far from Stillwater.

The decision to build a new city hall became an issue in the mayor's race that saw incumbent Amy Williams defeated by challenger Richard Glasgow this month.

Glasgow had said as mayor he'd put a stop to construction of the new building, which FOX 9 says was about half finished when the fire destroyed it five days after the election.

A study this summer found the Lakeland's historic city hall has a leaky roof, mold, asbestos, and foundation problems.

The Star Tribune says the decision to spend more than $500,000 on a replacement came after a year of debate and a dozen public hearings. Glasgow argued for repairing the existing building and he told WCCO nearly everyone he spoke with while campaigning agreed with him.

Cmdr. Cheri Dexter of the sheriff's office told the Star Tribune authorities hope the reward money will lead to a breakthrough in the arson investigation.

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