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City of Park Rapids sees building growth

Project valuations in Park Rapids were up in 2010 compared to 2009

City planner Dan Walker has completed a 2010 year-end report for the Park Rapids Planning Department.

"The economy played a significant role in the number of requests we received in 2010," Walker said in the report. "I predicted at the beginning of the year that development activity would be similar to 2009, which was the case for 2010."

However, there was a slight overall increase in the building activity (by permit valuation) for the year, which was a positive sign, he said.

The total valuation of projects was up by 16 percent in 2010 although the total number of building permits issued was lower than in 2009.

"I am cautiously optimistic to say that we have leveled off and I expect development activity to continue to slowly recover," Walker said.

He would like to see Park Rapids get back to annual building permit valuation around $5 million and construction to begin on between five and 10 new single family homes. This, he said, would be healthy and sustained growth.

"We still have a ways to go to get back to those numbers, but I think we are getting back on the right track," he said.

The total number of building permits issued in 2010 was down by 26 but total valuation of the permits was up by $388,190.

Five new single family homes were constructed in 2010, which was low, but higher than the one permit issued in 2009. Many of the homes were built in the Pleasantville subdivision in southwest Park Rapids. That area has just a few vacant lots remaining.

The number and value of commercial remodels was up in 2010, which Walker said is a positive sign that business owners are still investing money in improving existing businesses within the city. He expects more remodels in 2011 after speaking with some existing and prospective business owners.

Other highlights in 2010 for the planning department included working with business owners and citizens during the Main Avenue reconstruction and revising the city's Hazard Mitigation plan. Walker said there could be some federal funding available for blood mitigation if the flood prone areas are identified in the plan. This could include overland flooding issues and upgrades to the Fishhook River dam.

Walker has also been working with the city Park Board and community members on improvements to Lindquist Park. Improvements will continue to be made in 2011.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561