Guest Column: There’s a lot of activity happening in the community of Wells right now
Guest Column by Chris “C.J.” Holl
Over its 150-year history, Wells has always been known as a community where large and small businesses can get their start and thrive.
Entrepreneurs are the engine that makes Wells go. Wells Concrete helps build stadiums and structures nationwide, Brakebush Brothers processes chicken products for food distributors and ultimately restaurants and schools among other customers. Herman Manufacturing, Marketplace Foods and over 200 other area small businesses also call Wells home.
Wells features a community pool, golf course, 80 acres of parks, new housing opportunities, two business parks, municipal utility services, a newly remodeled airport, remodeled motor vehicle services/city hall, the Flame Theatre, a new K-12 school, elderly services, medical clinics, a museum and robust civic organizations, among other assets and amenities.
Recently, the community invested in a new business park and the first tenant, Ron’s Plumbing, will be building a 9,000-square-foot facility. The Wells Business Park’s location on busy state Highway 22 will be an attractive location for new businesses.
The Housing and Redevelopment Authority also just opened up a new housing development at the site of the old school on Minnesota Highway 22 through town, the city center. The addition features affordable lot prices that are ready to build on. The first lot sale is pending with construction soon to start.
Small towns depend on their seniors, and the best small towns strive to offer services to them as they transition to easier accommodations. Heartland Senior Living started construction this summer on a 20-unit complex with assisted living and memory care services. It is set to open in October and will fill a need between senior living apartments and full-service care for the elderly.
Small businesses in town are moving to larger locations, for example The Humble Heart.
Large businesses are investing in themselves in town. Brakebush ungraded their production equipment and expanded their capacity. There is a sense of anticipation in the air in Wells about what it will become.
Recently, a senior couple stopped me on the street and said they were considering leaving town. They were thinking about selling their home and moving closer to their children and grandchildren in a nearby larger town. However, they said they are not. They want to stay and see what develops in Wells. They were excited by the amount of activity in the community.
Walk around town. Visit with folks on the street. Discover a local business. It is clear Wells isn’t resting on its laurels and looking backward this 150th anniversary. It is looking to the future. Wells is proud of its past, which it will be heartily celebrating this coming weekend, but it is ready to tackle the next 150 years. Expect big things from Wells — the community is excitedly looking forward.
Go team Wells!
Chris “C.J.” Holl is the Wells city administrator
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