City set to aquire land for possible development

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The city council Monday set the stage for its port authority to acquire a piece of property near I-90 in hopes that it will be sold to Greater Jobs, Inc. and developed.

Assistant City Manager Bill Schmitt, filling in for absent City Manager Paul Sparks, said the city is not at liberty to talk about a prospective use for the site. Mayor Jean Eaton said the city was just being &uot;proactive.&uot;

&uot;That whole area out there is developing, and with the visibility of I-90, it just makes sense to be proactive and look at the possibility of developing that land,&uot; Eaton said after the meeting.

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The city set up a tax-increment financing (TIF) district on the land, which is north of the Northaire Industrial Park. The district would be used to capture future tax revenue from the site to pay back the city for the cost of the purchase, Schmitt said. If the project succeeds, the port authority, an arm of the city, would sell the property to Greater Jobs.

The city council approved the TIF district unanimously. The city will hold a public hearing on the TIF district on Oct. 27.

In other news from Monday’s city council meeting:

– The council will ask the state to reduce the speed limit on part of East Main Street from 55 to 45 mph.

The stretch of road in question is near Trail’s Travel Center and the state park road.

The city does not have the authority to make the change, but can make a request of the state. Citizens have expressed concern that a 55 mph speed limit on the road is unsafe, and Schmitt said there have been a couple of recent accidents there.

Council member Mary Kron said with the new Wal-Mart Supercenter opening nearby soon, there will be even more traffic in the area.

The state will have to conduct a speed study before making a decision, and City Engineer Dave Olson said citizens who have concerns should contact the city to have their opinions included in the city’s communication with the Minnesota Department of Transportation.

– Council members put their support behind a 12-county application for one of the state’s ten new Job Opportunity Building Zones (JOBZ). The tax-free zones are intended to help spur economic development.

– The council held public hearings to close the book on assessments for an assortment of street, curb and sewer improvements in the Dawn Acres area, on James Avenue, in the Habben Industrial Park and in the Chapeau Shores Seventh Addition.

The Dawn Acres Project cost $107, 954.30, of which $89,680.65 will be assessed to property owners; the Habben project cost $133,541.01, with $126,221.76 assessed; James Avenue cost $767,200, of which $268,999.93 was assessed; and the Chapeau Shores work cost $130,807.04, with $130,807.04 assessed.

(Contact Dylan Belden at dylan.

or 379-3433.)