Howard Lake-Waverly Herald, Aug. 27, 2001

HL City unveils conceptual design for bank development

By Lynda Jensen

Plans for the Security State Bank of Howard Lake to be relocated to the south side of Highway 12, along blocks 16 and 17, were unveiled during the regular Howard Lake City Council meeting Tuesday.

The city is considering moving its city offices into the existing bank building, which will add necessary space, City Administrator Doug Borglund said. This move will also enable the city liquor store to expand.

Currently, a price is being negotiated with the bank; although it is expected to include all of the furnishings, Borglund said.

The total estimated cost of the project is between $600,000 and $700,000, Borglund said.

The city expects to draw considerable income from the project over time because it is a tax increment financed project, he said. Although the city is making an initial investment in buying the properties on block 16, the immediate impact will not raise the tax levy, he said.

Block 16 is where the city bought lots between Bergie's and Milo's restaurant (see map).

This rearrangment of basic functions for the city will keep many things within arm's reach of citizens, Borglund said.

The move may also keep the area used by the Howard Lake Lions intact as well, Borglund said.

"It's an exciting project," Mayor Gerry Smith said. "It's a win-win situation for everyone."

Councilor Shelly Reddemann pointed out that when a business like the bank needs to expand, it usually only finds a suitable place outside of the downtown business district, as demonstrated by other cities in the past.

"It's the end of the old downtown area," when this happens, Reddemann said. This way, everything remains within reach of citizens, including the post office, bank, and city offices in close proximity to each other instead of fragmenting the business community, he said.

The city negotiated with Dave and Michelle DuChaine's property, agreeing on a price of $106,000 for their property, located on block 16.

The city also accepted a counter offer of $40,000 from Leo Gagnon for the vacant lot that is located on block 16 as well. Gagnon agreed to pay for all destruction costs that the city incurred in the past, as well as back taxes, and interest.

In another move related to development, the council approved brothers Warren and William Dell to convert the existing car wash into an automotive repair shop.

They plan to open the repair shop Oct. 1.

During the planning and zoning, some neighbors asked about noise, and business hours; although these questions were answered and it was determined the noise level would be the same as a car wash, Smith said.

Paul Carlson also attended the meeting to ask for a minor subdivision and variance request to convert Carlson's Cabins resort into three lots that could be used as family retreats, he said. This was OK'd.

The renovation for the historic City Hall building is also moving forward, with the application of grants to the state historical society to redo the windows and roof, councilor Don Danford said. Danford is also a member of the Howard Lake Historical Society.

The society is hoping for about $78,000 in matching money from the state for the work.

Resident Pat Van Oss pointed out that the roof was done within the past 12 years or so, and wondered what the roof would be made of.

"Once you get up there (on the roof), it doesn't look that great," Danford said. The specifications for the new roof are dictated by the state historical society, he said.

The material right now for the roof is cedar, but will be replaced with the historically correct timber line shingles, Danford said.

The council authorized $3,000 for the architects Hay Dobbs to prepare required architectural drawings to further the grant application process. The deadline for the application is Sept. 7.

Danford also spoke about the brick sponsorship program, which the historical society is working on.

Bricks are being inscribed with names, and all kinds of different messages, Danford said. Some are quite creative, marking special dates that are important to families, etc., Danford said.

The society was hoping for enough bricks to possibly pave a path to Lions Park or some other location, he said. So far, about $3,000 have been sold. More is needed for it to work, he said.

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