By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake City Council discussed its commitment to a proposed 18-unit assisted living project that will be located in the Terning Trails development on 60th Street east of Howard Lake at its meeting Tuesday.
“Howard Lake remains committed to the assisted living project,” said Mayor Pete Zimmerman. “We believe the benefits will be clear to all residents, not simply potential residents of the assisted living facility. Howard Lake views a full life-cycle housing plan as an integral part of our long-term vitality as a community.”
The timeline for the project now sets construction to begin in August 2013, with submission of concept plans by May 15 for final approval by Howard Lake’s planning and zoning commission and city council.
Financing is expected to be finalized by June 15, with construction plans submitted by July 15 for city approval and the issuance of building permits.
At this time, Community Asset Foundation is confident in the dates and timelines as presented, said Bob Roepke of Community Asset Foundation.
The construction of the facility is expected to take about six months, with a move-in date of mid-spring 2014.
The late construction date was intentional, said Roepke, noting if the project were started earlier in the year, move-in would be around the holidays of 2013.
The residents of Howard Lake have shown a high interest in the project, and it was a popular topic at the Howard Lake Expo, noted City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller.
A list of people interested in moving into the assisted living facility has been started, and it appears the facility will not have a problem filling the 18 units, Roepke noted.
“The list is bound to grow. There are a lot of people still asking questions about it,” noted Council Member Al Munson.
The city is partnering with Community Asset Foundation to construct the assisted living facility, which will be operated and managed by Good Samaritan Society.
An engagement letter and a letter of understanding were reviewed and approved by the council regarding the city’s commitment and the role each partner will play in the development and management of the facility.
Although the engagement letter and letter of understanding are non-binding, Howard Lake’s position and support has not changed in the two-plus years since the project partnership was formed, Haggenmiller noted.
Howard Lake is offering assistance by issuing general obligation bonds, which will be paid through the creation of a tax increment financing (TIF) district that will generate revenue for the bond payments, preventing general fund tax dollars from being used for the project, Haggenmiller added.
The city is also selling Good Samaritan Society the land the assisted living project will be built on for $1.
Additional tax increment assistance will be provided to the project from the city in the first four years from existing, well-performing TIF districts.
“We are viewing this development as a potential catalyst for future development at Terning Trails,” noted Haggenmiller following a question from Council Member Mike Mitchell about a day care facility in connection with the assisted living facility.
“In the past, interest has ebbed and flowed to create a campus atmosphere, which may have amenities such as a day care center, townhomes, and single-family parcels,” Haggenmiller added. “With this project moving forward, this will be a great incentive for marketing the remaining development.”
Community Asset Foundation has pledged to assist and support any efforts to create intergenerational programming at or around the facility, he noted.
Names are still being accepted for the assisted living facility waiting list; for more information, contact Good Samaritan Society-Howard Lake at (320) 543-3800.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• accepted the annual municipal liquor store report. Manager Myra Laway noted her goal is to be a consistent “million dollar muni” and “blow away” the projected sales for 2013.
• accepted the monthly liquor store report. For the month of February, total sales were $64,966, with disbursements of $66,023, for a net loss of $1,057.
The liquor store is showing a year-to-date net loss of $2,346.
• approved sponsoring Good Neighbor Days fireworks at a cost of $2,500, paying the insurance premium of $250 for the event, and providing $250 for the Howard Lake Royalty committee to complete the last five years of royalty plaques to be hung at city hall.