By Nan Royce
HOWARD LAKE, MN Howard Lake City Council chose a developer for Terning Trails subdivision during Tuesday’s meeting.
The council first turned its attention to the historically troubled Terning Trails subdivision.
The 86-parcel subdivision languished through the housing crash, although the City of Howard Lake invested in public utilities, street, water, sewer, and storm sewer for a portion of the parcels.
Past attempts to develop some of the parcels in 2014 and 2016 proved unsuccessful.
In an attempt to stimulate the project again, City Administrator Nick Haggenmiller suggested three logical steps to quickly proceed to build out.
Haggenmiller proposed the council could open the development to any individual, developer, or builder for residential construction. He pointed out this option would cause a tremendous amount of additional work for city staff, as they would potentially be managing a variety of different developers, and would be responsible for the marketing of their work.
The council could also elect to enter into non-exclusive listing agreements, in which one or more Realtors could list the parcels. By taking this option, the city would incur a minimum of $500 in Relator fees per parcel.
Finally, the council could offer exclusive development rights. By exercising this option, the city would sign a purchase agreement with one builder. The purchase agreement would contain stipulations for minimum development benchmarks and required standards for finished homes.
Haggenmiller pointed out the city currently owns 28 lots in Terning Trails ready to enter into exclusive agreements. He noted that two developers, Paxmar Homes and Wausau Homes had submitted letters of intent, and had representatives present at the meeting. Builder Lenny Juncewski was also present as an interested party.
The council heard presentations from Juncewski, Alan Roessler of Paxmar Homes, and Grant Johnson of Wausau Homes.
All three builders presented solid plans for the build-out of Terning Trails. Haggenmiller urged the council to officially make a selection during the meeting, so development could get underway in the 2017 construction season.
After much discussion, the council adopted a resolution to enter into an exclusive agreement with Paxmar Homes.
Historic city hall repairs
The council turned their attention to a proposal for repairs and painting at the historic city hall building.
Haggenmiller noted that a more encompassing renovation project was budgeted and planned for 2018-2019, but the building’s iconic cupola is in need of immediate attention.
The council approved hiring Shroeder Contracting to complete some repairs and paint the cupola not to exceed a cost of $4,000.
Collaborative community education
Next, the council considered a proposal to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with Howard Lake-Waverly- Winsted Schools for the city’s summer recreation program.
The agreement would move management of Howard Lake’s summer rec program to HLWW Schools.
Haggenmiller noted that making such a move would put all existing programming, including library programs and baseball, under one management umbrella.
Mayor Pete Zimmerman supported the idea, but expressed concern about maintaining Howard Lake’s individuality.
“Town pride won’t go away,” Haggenmiller assured, pointing out that community education projects and teams would still very clearly be from Howard Lake.
The council agreed to enter into the Memo of Understanding with HLWW for the summer recreation program.
Fixing the floors
The council next perused floor tile samples, presented by Haggenmiller as options for use in the community room and the library.
The council agreed to replace all the community room tile with VCT tile from Floor Value of Howard Lake, at a cost of $4,200.
The council also agreed to replace all the floor tile in the library with VCT tile from Floor Value at a cost of $11,989.
Odds and ends
In other business, the council:
• approved a tax increment financing (TIF) district for the Munson Lakes project, and adopted a TIF financing plan.
• set Spring Cleanup Day for Saturday, May 6,
• appointed part-time police officer Kyle Thompson.
• heard from local food shelf volunteer Kirsten Olson about an emergency food box plan. The plan places boxes of food in civic areas (such as city hall) for pickup during hours the food shelf is not open. Olson pointed out the program is up and running successfully in Waverly, and volunteers were already in place to bring the project to Howard Lake.
“This is a great, worthwhile program,” Haggenmiller told Olson. “We’ll be happy to work with you.”