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Revitalization efforts continue in downtown Howard Lake
Sept. 8, 2017

Nan Royce
Staff Writer

HOWARD LAKE – Sept. 1, the Herald Journal reported about anticipated changes to Howard Lake’s Munson Lakes Nutrition’s campus and the town’s historic city hall.

Following are additional downtown changes that are planned or underway.

New parking lot

The building at the intersection of Highway 12 and County State Aid Highway (CSAH) 6 South, at press time, is in the process of being sold to the city. Closing on the property is slated to take place on or before Friday, Sept. 15.

The structure is often referred to as the “Kadlec building,” after former owner David Kadlec. The building once housed a service station and bait shop.

Once the property officially belongs to the City of Howard Lake, plans include required building and site testing, followed by complete demolition of the building.

A municipally-owned parking lot is slated to be built in the resulting space.

The American Legion has reportedly make a significant donation towards the parking lot project.

In researching demolition options, City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller reported city staffers discovered most crews who could complete the required work are booked out on other jobs through the end of 2017.

Once the Kadlec building is razed, the parking lot can be constructed, and the highly- visible area will be landscaped in a physically attractive, functional, and safe fashion.

The city has recently signed a small scope of services with a landscape architect to create a rendering of the CSAH 6/Hwy 12 corner, and the American Legion intends to erect a small veterans memorial somewhere on the site.

City hall area changes

Noticeable changes have already taken place on the city hall/Snap Fitness/post office block.

Parking lot improvements have been made, and flatwork and painting are nearly complete behind city hall and Snap Fitness.

The city has installed maintenance-free fencing to screen the garbage and recycling cans, and Snap Fitness utilities.

Plans are nearing completion for the installation of a driveup mailbox and a utililty-payment dropbox adjacent to the post office. The island for the boxes has been poured and is complete.

The final piece of this portion of the downtown revitalization process includes the installation of a wrought iron fence between city hall and the fire hall.

Pedestrian Improvements

MnDOT has proposed a milling and overlaying project for Highway 12 for the year 2020.

Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) personnel have agreed to review suggestions from the city for pedestrian bumpouts at CSAH 6 North and South and 8th Avenue intersections. Additionally, plans call for widening the sidewalks in front of downtown businesses, to make them more manageable for people who use wheelchairs or have limited mobility issues.

Preliminary plans also call for improved lighting and signage in the downtown area.

Business Incentives

The City of Howard Lake can often assist local businesses by offering several funding sources for revitalization grants.

Howard Lake Mayor Pete Zimmerman sees that type of situation as a win-win.

“Having the ability to assist local businesses and make improvements to the downtown area is one of the exciting aspects of local government,” he said. “Project partnerships like these, between the city and the business community require patience and a lot of creativity. Howard Lake is fortunate to have local business leaders who really care about the community, they are the key to the success of these projects.”

Howard Lake businesses utilizing some grant funding include the following:

• Snap Fitness has upgraded the exterior of its building.

• Grandpa Ittel’s Meats, now under the ownership of the Kovack family, has obtained a grant for storefront improvements including highway-facing signage and a general facelift for the building.

• Crow River Tax Service is working on a roofing and exterior upgrade.

• Frontera Cafe and Bistro has added an outdoor patio.

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