BY GABE LICHT
DELANO, MN The Delano City Council and Economic Development Authority are entertaining the idea of purchasing the former Granite Works property in downtown Delano, remediating the site, and selling it to a housing developer.
The council/EDA went into closed session Tuesday evening to discuss a potential offer to purchase the property as part of a redevelopment package.
“They gave me requests for additional information, and I’ll get back to them in the next couple months,” City Administrator Phil Kern said. “If anything comes of it, it will probably be in the spring when the council considers taking action on the project. We continue to do homework and explore the potential of a redevelopment project.”
He said he believes the odds of that happening are good.
“The interest level from the development world has been very positive over the past few months,” Kern said. “Securing a development partner would be one of the things we’d want to do before diving in on a project like this.”
City officials now have some data to share with potential developers in the form of a 54-page rental housing market study that Kern will break down at a future council meeting.
“We asked them to look at affordable housing, senior rentals, and market-rate rentals,” Kern said. “The study came back that, of those three categories, market rate was the highest in demand. I know I believed there was a need for market-rate rental housing in town. It’s nice that the market study found the same conclusion.”
A large portion of the near five-hour meeting was interviewing 14 applicants for 12 commission seats, deliberating, and making appointment decisions.
The council reappointed Sarah Berres and Marnie Lucas to the park and recreation commission, and appointed Kevin J. Koehler.
Nancy Rowbotham and Bob Slipka will be added to the planning commission.
James Anderson, Matt Boelter, and Judith Criego will all remain on the public safety commission, as they were all reappointed.
Newly-appointed commissioner Jennifer Slipka will join reappointed commissioner Theresa Schlosser-Green on the Spirit of Community Commission.
Adam Steffl was reappointed to the Water, Light, and Power Commission, and will be joined by newly appointed commissioner Tom Rowbotham.
Assistant building official
The council approved the hiring of Dustin Quam as an assistant building official, a full-time position that will be shared between Delano and Watertown.
Kern shared the rationale for expanding the building department.
“We’ve had a tremendous amount of growth over the years,” Kern said. “Last year, we had over 6,000 hours of need in our inspection and plan review process . . . The third position is needed to meet the demands of commercial, residential, and industrial growth in Delano and Watertown.”