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Business beautification loan program approved
May 10, 2019

Ivan Raconteur
Editor

WINSTED, MN – The Winsted City Council, during its May 7 meeting, approved a business beautification forgivable loan program and authorized the city administrator to begin accepting applications June 3.

Under the program’s guidelines, a property may be eligible for grant funding of up to $5,000 in forgivable loan dollars for approved exterior improvements with an estimated life of more than 10 years.

Construction must start within six months of loan award date and be completed within twelve months of the loan award date. Properties will only be eligible for one grant award in any given five-year period.

City Administrator Adam Birkholz explained that the purpose of the program is to stimulate private investment in retail or service businesses anywhere in Winsted.

The EDA allocated $15,000 to the program, which will continue as long as funds are available.

Home-based businesses are not eligible for the program.

Funds from the program can be used for anything outside the building. For example, funds could be used for exterior painting or renovation, but not for purchasing a new furnace.

Summer festival turned over to chamber

The council adopted a resolution recognizing the Winsted Summer Festival as an event sponsored by the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce, and authorized the mayor and city clerk-treasurer to execute an agreement between the City of Winsted and the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce for the use of city property, services and equipment provided for the 2019 Winsted Summer Festival.

According to a memo from the city, the Winsted Summer Festival was established as an annual community event in 2004. This event provides entertainment, encourages community involvement, and promotes community pride in the Winsted Area. In addition, the Winsted Summer Festival Committee was established and appointed by the Winsted City Council and is comprised of individuals acting under the direction and control of the city council.

Early in 2019, representatives of the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce approached City staff with a request to take control of the Winsted Summer Festival in 2019 and make it a Chamber-sponsored event.

Representatives also made a recommendation to host the Winsted Summer Festival as a two-day event, which has been scheduled for Friday, Aug. 9 and Saturday, Aug. 10 at Mill Reserve Park.

In order to recognize the Summer Festival as a chamber-sponsored event, the city council must act to dissolve the Winsted Summer Festival Committee and Fund by a resolution and direct city staff to transfer any remaining fund balance to the chamber for the purpose of funding Winsted Summer Festival activities. An agreement has been drafted between the City of Winsted and the Winsted Area Chamber of Commerce for certain considerations regarding the Summer Festival.

According to the agreement, during the event, the two parties agree to the following general conditions and terms:

• The city shall provide the use of Mill Reserve Park.

• The City will agree to provide, pay for and insure one fireworks display during the Summer Festival, with the condition that the chamber will raise funds to pay for the fireworks display.

• The chamber shall pay for services provided by Winsted’s police chief and police officers, public works staff, Winsted Volunteer Fire Department, and city vendors as they are directly related to the Summer Festival event dates, and will be based on the 2019 Fee Schedule or billed per the vendor’s rate.

“We’re very excited about it,” commented chamber representative Jeff Campbell.

RV parking and blight

The council discussed recreational vehicle parking and blight during the work session.

Police Chief Justin Heldt noted that if the city has not addressed a blight issue does not mean they are allowing it. It likely means they are not aware of it. He advised residents who have concerns about blight to contact the police department or the city office.

Heldt said his department has investigated 15 blight complaints this year since the snow melted.

PeopleService

The council heard an update from PeopleService, which operates the city’s wastewater plant. Representative Lee Ortloff said an open house at the facility is being planned for August.

“It’s important for our residents to see what a $7 million plant can do, Mayor Steve Stotko commented.

Odds and ends

In other business, the council:

• postponed a comprehensive plan review until late this year when the city’s land use consultant will be available.

• heard that improvements will be taking place in the restrooms at Barrett Field.

• discussed expanding compost site hours in response to requests from residents. No cation was taken at this time.

• approved a commercial operator agreement with Skydive Twin Cities West.

• heard an update from PeopleService, which operates the city’s wastewater plant. Representative Lee Ortloff said an open house at the facility is being planned for August.

• witnessed the oath of office for part-time police officer Robert Cripps.

• recognized Deputy City Clerk Amanda Zeidler for 10 years of service to the city.

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