Research shows northwest as optimal area for growth
By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN Over the past few years, the City of Delano has discussed and worked toward the development of a new industrial park northwest of Delano but for several reasons, it has not yet happened.
At its meeting Feb. 4, the Delano City Council took one step forward with the proposed park, authorizing a feasibility analysis to take place for the proposal.
A master plan was created for developing the proposed northwest industrial area, located off Highway 12 and south of Eaken Avenue, back in 2006 based on land availability and utility access. Bolton and Menk, which created the master study, identified that area as the optimal area for industrial growth for the city.
City Administrator Phil Kern said at a city council workshop Jan. 26 that the city has had several interested businesses inquire in the status of the park over the last few months, and said there is also one business in town that has expressed interest in expanding locally. He noted there has been more development contact in the last two months than there has over the past two years.
Kern said the city needs to be prepared if a group comes in and says it is ready to go. This feasibility analysis will be one less thing to do should a developer come to the city with a proposal.
Kern also noted it is one of it council’s goals, along with parallel goals of the Delano Area Chamber of Commerce and Delano Dream Team II, to create new industrial jobs, ultimately with a new industrial park.
The feasibility analysis was the first part of a plan Kern outlined at the city’s workshop. The plan would include an engineering study, planning study, financing plan, and marketing plans.
The engineering study will advance the detail of the utility and street reconstruction plans, along with cost estimates of a phased approach, Kern said at the regular council meeting.
The site will also need planning and land use review, Kern noted, and said there are a number of steps like annexation, survey/wetland delineation, and platting, that will need to be staged in the proper order. The layout of utilities would have to work hand-in-hand with the planning structure.
On the financing side, Kern said the “crux of the industrial development plan would need creative financing.”
As part of the feasibility study, city staff will get a proposal from Springsted to assist with financial recommendations. It is expected Springsted’s involvement would be $3,000 to $5,000 for initial plan estimates.
The costs of all the studies is about $20,000, which would be part of a planned reimbursement effort from assessment bonds if the project proceeds, Kern said.
“I think it needs to be done,” Council Member Brad Hotchkiss said of the study.
The council approved moving ahead with the feasibility study.
Following the study, steps the city is expected to look at include the annexation of Ken and Penny Murphy’s property west of Delano, a grant application, and working on pre-development agreements and assessment agreement with landowners, which Council Member Larry Bartels said are “critical” steps.
The city will also need to revisit and resolve drainage issues with ditch 34, which has been another issue holding up the development project. A walk-through is set to take place in the spring after the snow has melted.
In Kern’s memo to the council, further steps include survey/wetland delineation, obtaining a Minnesota Department of Transportation access permit, a subdivision and platting of the land, engineering plans for construction, rezoning/site plan review, the establishment of a tax increment financing (TIF) district, and finally, development agreements and public improvements.
When the feasibility study is complete, the council also feels it will be in a better position to assess future steps.