Dec. 11 , 2006
Local information presented at State of the Cities event in Montrose
By Noel LaBine
The Wright County Economic Development Partnership conducted its annual State of The Cities event in Montrose at the new Montrose Community Center Nov. 21, which featured communities in southern and western Wright County.
Along with Howard Lake and Montrose, other cities that presented at the Montrose event included Annandale, Delano, Maple Lake, Montrose, Howard Lake, and South Haven. Other Wright County cities will be given an opportunity to make presentations in February 2007.
About 44 business people and those interested in development in Wright County were attendance. There was a buffet lunch catered by Red’s Cafe, and there was a drawing for a prize of an insulated black bag on wheels for those who had pre-registered. Ollie Koropchak of Monticello won that prize.
The Citizen’s State Bank of Montrose and Waverly was the sponsor for this event.
The reports from the participating cities were interesting in the breadth and depth of the information provided. Some of the highlights include:
• Howard Lake has completed a sewer and water needs assessment, and plans to apply for a sewer improvement project in 2007. Dura Supreme now has 685 employees and is helping with an affordable housing project.
• Montrose has added 56 new homes in 2006. They have 12 prepared subdivisions, which include 1,535 single family homes and 600 townhomes.
In addition, they have three new businesses, and Trailhead Development has a 19-lot commercial and industrial park off of Clementa Avenue, which is being upgraded. The city has surveyed residents and businesses to assess what kind of development activity would be most acceptable to all.
• Cokato has spent close to $2 million in street upgrades including new street lights.
There are several commercial and industrial developments underway in Cokato.
• Delano has had a slowdown in development activity, but still has added 90 new homes in 2006, and more new residential plots were added in 2006.
A 92-unit AmericInn motel has been approved. Working on infrastructure development this winter for both the motel project and the new industrial park west is being done. A new strip mall retail shopping center is being planned for the corner of 9th St. and Highway 12.
Also, several projects in the effort to redevelop downtown have been completed or are nearing completion and the riverfront is being cleared of old buildings in an effort to make the river more of an accent to the downtown area.
The Hwy. 12 upgrade will occur in 2008 and 2009, including a new bridge across the Crow River.
• Annandale has spent $5.5 million on city improvement projects in the last year. In spite of the problems getting their new waste water treatment plant approved, the city still managed to add an additional 15 new homes in 2006.
• Maple Lake added 50 new homes in 2006 and still has 100 plots left. The industrial park is full with only two empty lots, but the owners are planning new construction soon.
Three new industrial buildings are being built or have recently been completed. The new industrial park will be on the southwest side of town, south of the railroad tracks. There is a new strip retail mall being built by Nelson Building on the west side of town.
• South Haven has a new waste water treatment facility and all new sewer pipes, which were installed a couple years ago. They are welcoming any new businesses that would be interested in locating there.
Their fire department has recently become a fire and rescue operation. They are currently assessing their need for a new city hall and community center.
The council has been meeting in the fire hall, because the old city hall is not accessible for the handicapped.
The Partnership exists to enhance the business climate of Wright County and help create more jobs in Wright County.
The strategies the Partnership uses to achieve its mission include being an information resource and finding technical assistance; aiding business development through business retention and expansion visits, providing financing resources, and providing business information and training through seminars and workshops.
Also, the Partnership markets Wright County to business site locators, and maintains an excellent web site, which includes a listing of commercial and industrial property available in Wright County (see www.wrightpartnership.org).
The Partnership also assists with workforce development and has gathered economic statistical information, which is available on its web site.