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Lester Prairie City Council considers possible projects
Dec. 7, 2015

Ivan Raconteur
Editor

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – Lester Prairie Economic Development Coordinator Adam Birkholz presented a range of possible projects during a city council workshop meeting Tuesday, and asked the council to consider priorities, as well as risks versus expectations.

Birkholz broke the options down into broad categories, including:

• downtown revitalization;

• commercial land development;

• reinvestment in existing local businesses;

• housing development; and

• independent senior housing.

Birkholz also addressed the city’s comprehensive plan, which was adopted in 2006.

He noted the cities typically update their comprehensive plans every 10 to 15 years.

Lester Prairie’s plan includes a land use map that is unrealistic, and needs to be more specific, Birkholz said.

The demographic information in the plan also needs to be updated.

He said the current plan does not include a marketing plan for the city.

Birkholz’ recommendations to the council include moving forward with development of a new comprehensive plan. He said the city has an opportunity to do this for a cost of $7,500.

He noted a comprehensive plan update would normally cost $15,000, but the city has an opportunity to get a grant through mid-Minnesota development and MnDOT that would cover half of the cost.

This project would also include a scaled-down version of a housing study. A complete housing study alone could cost $20,000, he said.

If the council chooses to approve this project, it would take approximately six months to produce a draft, and an additional two months to review before final approval of the new plan.

Birkholz’ other recommendations to the council include:

• approve hiring a consultant to help the city develop its policies for revolving loan funds and a business subsidy plan at a cost of less than $1,000.

• continue discussions regarding a proposed independent senior housing project.

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