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Wells is getting a grant

By Staff | Feb 14, 2016

Rumors were floating around as to whether the city of Wells accepted their TED grant for the North Industrial Park project, and the Wells City Council wanted to set the record straight during their meeting last Monday.

A representative from MnDOT, Gordon Regenscheid, was present at the meeting to not only clear the air of the rumors, but to inform the council of how the TED?grant would work. Their portion covers the turn lanes on Highway 22 in the plan.

One of the grayer areas for the council was whether or not retail stores would be able to be a part of the project.

“Retail is not absolutely out,” said Regenscheid.

He went on to tell the council that because the grant is focused on manufacturing, the focus should not be on retail, which is sort of tough for a small town with many small retail businesses.

But, Wells got lucky.

Regenscheid shared that only big retailers, not small retailers, would not be permitted according to the grant.

The gray area for MnDOT, however, was whether or not Wells was actually taking the grant and planning to move forward with the project.

“Most of the applicants by the time they sign the contract, they’re 100 percent into the project. If you were to refuse the funds, not that it would be put on paper, but if someone were keeping tally of the city and saw you decline a grant after it was approved, that’s something that can stick with you for a long time,” said Regenscheid, after he had heard from a news source that Wells would not be taking the grant.

City administrator Robin Leslie made sure MnDOT knew that Wells was accepting the grant and moving forward with their project.

“I think there was some incorrect information in one of the news stories about this project, and it got copied from the other stories and snowballed with incorrect information,” said Leslie. “We are still in the preliminary process of planning things. We are on track, and I look forward to getting this project going.”

Along with specific guidelines as to who will be able to participate in the project, there is also a rigid timeline.

“The funds are meant to be spent in 2016, which means the majority of the project must be done this year. The faster we get our process moving, which very well could take a while, the faster we will get to construction,” said Regenscheid.

It was also pointed out that if the business park project were delayed, it could overlap during the new Highway 109 project that is set for 2017, which was good incentive for the City Council and the Wells community to keep things moving.

“I think we’re doing pretty good,” said Leslie.

The Wells City Council also:

Heard from Faribault County Commissioner Bill Groskreutz, who informed the council about a ditch repair that will be taking place in the near future. He also encouraged the council to have the city take over the management of all ditches within the city limits.

“Ninety percent of what is assessed comes back to the residents of the city, that’s who pays for it. The County Board and drainage authority manages that for you now. It would be simpler for you in the future if you’re looking at improvements or changes, you would hold that responsibility and would be able to make changes if needed,” said Groskreutz.

Put in a request to talk with Jeremy Monohan, director of the Prairie Lakes Transit, to discuss how things are going with the new routes.

Approved Wildcats Bar and Grill for new licensing and fees as they change from an S corporation to an LLC business.

Complimented the Wells street department on their efficient and well-done work throughout the last two blizzards the city of Wells endured.

“Just stunning work,” said councilwoman Whitney Harig.

Postponed many other items for the next regular meeting due to poor weather conditions.

The next Wells City Council meeting will be held on Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. in the Wells Community Center.