Editorial: Time for development of land is now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The recent decision by the Albert Lea City Council to refuse an offer by Walgreens to build on a couple acres of the former Farmland site seems short-sighted.

Councilors want to wait for the results of the Albert Lea Listens sessions and we agree that is a good idea. It may be that some idea will come from the results that most will agree is the perfect use of the property.

In that case, the council should have postponed a decision, not refused it.

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Walgreens is requesting 2.4 acres of a 40-acre parcel of land, leaving plenty of space to develop anything the council might envision for the property.

The former Farmland site has been empty for several years and it could take another several years to clean up a portion of the land contaminated when a dry cleaning company dumped chemicals on the property, which Walgreens has offered to pay for

if the city will reduce the price of the property.

That’s nearly a decade of lost tax revenue for the city and that should be unacceptable to the council and city residents.

A bird in the hand is usually worth two in the bush and this is such a case. Economic development should always be a priority and in a community needing jobs, the Walgreens proposal should be considered. Increased tax dollars from development of the property should be better than little to none.

Councilors said a Walgreens isn’t really what they envision for the &uot;front door&uot; of the site and advocated waiting until &uot;something really worthwhile&uot; comes along.


company would develop a piece of prime real estate, increasing the tax revenue, and provide jobs. We fail to see how this project isn’t in the better interests of the city and its residents.

Jobs &045; not just for employees of Walgreens but the entire construction community and others &045; as well as increased tax revenue, seems pretty worthwhile to us.

The council is being cautious, taking time to discuss all avenues for a prime piece of land which will be affected for years to come by their decision. We appreciate their thoughtfulness but what do councilors envision as the perfect use for the land?