Weather Forecast


Park Rapids to see new development

By Anna Erickson

A modification to a Municipal Development District and Tax Increment Financing Plan has been approved for development of a 29-unit apartment complex in Park Rapids.

Kuepers Architects & Builders, Inc., brought the request to the Park Rapids City Council. The land is located south of St. Joseph’s Area Health Services in the McGrane second addition.

Steve Kuepers said previously that without a TIF District he might not otherwise be able to do the project. By using TIF, he can keep rents lower for tenants.

TIF uses increased property taxes that a new real estate development generates to finance costs of the development.

The next step for the project will be work on a Developer’s Agreement.

The council also approved the 2013-17 Capital Improvement Plan for city projects and equipment. Several people attended the hearing but no one addressed the council.

City treasurer Angela Brumbaugh said the CIP is not cast in stone and can be revised at any time.

Councilmembers approved a CIP that was modified slightly from the draft presented at an earlier meeting.

Several of the street projects outlined in the CIP were pushed back a year.

For 2013, Park Rapids is looking to construct a water treatment facility. The city has had issues with its wells and high nitrate levels for many years. After trying different options, including deeper wells, it was determined that the only other viable option is a treatment facility. The cost estimate for the water treatment facility is $2.4 million, which could be paid for with the city’s water/sewer fund if rates are increased, along with an anticipated federal grant.

Scott Burlingame, public works director, said he has heard good news about potential funding help from the state.

Also on the docket for 2013 is an airport project that would pave and extend a runway. The $5 million project would be paid for at 90 percent with federal dollars. The city’s obligation is $500,000. The city currently has a 3,000-foot grass cross-wind runway with attached taxiway. With increasing traffic at the airport, city staff thinks it will be better to convert the grass runway into a concrete runway, which will enable it to be utilized year round.

The Riverside Avenue area of the city is due for major underground improvements. The city has outlined a three-phase project to split up the construction over three years, from 2014-16. The cost is $1.1 million in 2014, $800,000 in 2015 and $600,000 in 2016.

The project would replace water main, sanitary sewer, storm sewer, streets, curb, gutter and sidewalks. Sanitary sewer in this area was installed in the 1920s and 1930s and is made of clay tile. Several homeowners in the area have reported back-ups in the last few years, which will likely continue unless the sewer and water mains are upgraded.

Discovery Circle water/sewer is on the schedule now for 2017.

The city engineer has recommended that all recently paved streets and lots, along with some others in the city be seal coated to prevent damage and deterioration. The city identified this need several years ago but it hasn’t been funded.

Rapids Spirits is requesting it have its parking lot paved in 2013 to address safety concerns at a cost of $33,000. The surface continues to deteriorate.

The proposed CIP shows an estimated project cost of $20.75 million over the next five years.

Cost estimates based on the CIP show the 2013 levy at $612,900, 2014 levy at $670,900, 2015 at $710,900, 2016 levy at $735,000 and 2017 levy at $619,000.

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