Pre-cast walls are being raised at a new Forest Lake City Center that will include police and fire departments and all city offices.

Nearly 200 wall segments will be set into place to build the $21 million complex, which will open in October. Built on the site of the former Northland Mall, it will replace undersized quarters downtown.

Mayor Chris Johnson has described the new city hall as a "significant hub of the city" that will encourage future private development west of Hwy. 61 and south of downtown.

"It hasn't been easy, but it was worth it without a doubt," he said at a groundbreaking ceremony last fall. Construction began after 18 months of planning.

The Lakes Area Business Association and three residents had sued the city and the Forest Lake Economic Development Authority on the grounds the funding required a public vote of approval. The complex also will have 22,500 square feet of commercial and retail space.

Kevin Giles