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BE EDA decides to pass on a building

By Staff | Dec 15, 2019

Wade Barslou, left, of Re/Max Total Realty, accepts the Blue Earth EDA’s Business Spotlight certificate for December from EDA chairman Bill Rosenau, during last Thursday morning’s monthly meeting.

After some serious discussion, the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA), voted not to take any action at this time concerning a vacant building on Main Street.

The building at 101 S. Main Street, and known as the Main Street Agency building, has been voluntarily turned over to the county by the owners.

Members of the EDA had toured the building and at their last meeting had discussed what might happen to it if it is not sold. They decided to get a structural assessment of it.

At their meeting this past Thursday morning, the EDA learned they had received just one quote for doing the assessment. It came from LTN Engineering of Mankato and the cost was $1,000.

That sparked some discussion of whether the EDA should be involved with the building at this time or not.

“It currently belongs to the county,” EDA member Ann Hanna said. “I don’t think we should be spending money on a building the county owns.”

Mayor Rick Scholtes, who serves on the EDA board, disagreed.

“So should we do nothing and then nothing happens for 15 years until the building falls down,” Scholtes questioned. “I don’t think so. We already did that with other buildings, like the Avalon Center.”

City administrator Tim Ibisch said he did not think the $1,000 fee for the assessment was out of line. But EDA chairman Bill Rosenau agreed with Hanna.

“I’m not in favor of doing this at this time,” he said. “We don’t have any interest in it.”

Hanna made a motion to defer any action on the Main Street Agency property, including doing the structural engineer assessment at this time. The motion passed 4-1 with Scholtes casting the dissenting vote.

In other business, the EDA awarded Re/Max Total Realty the Business Spotlight certificate for December.

Owner Wade Barslou was present to accept the award and discuss his business with the EDA board.

Barslou told of the advantages to have joined with Re/Max and with his business partner Vonnie Cone.

He stressed that his real estate business is still locally owned but that joining with Re/Max has helped with marketing and resources.

Barslou praised the EDA and the City Council for their work of making improvements to the city, the downtown and housing.

He also said having things in Blue Earth such as UHD Hospital and Clinic, low cost of housing, and high speed internet, is attracting a lot of home buyers from out-of-town with interest in moving here.

In other business at the meeting, the EDA board:

Learned of a REV group event that will include three programs for students learning about local jobs. The first one is set for this Tuesday, Dec. 17, and 177 ninth and 10th graders will be attending, along with representatives of various local businesses.

Heard an update on the progress of the plan to have several multi-family housing units built in the new housing development, and two other areas around the city.

Approved a lease for farmland the EDA owns north of the new housing development. The 18 acres will be rented out at $178 per acre.

Reviewed a list of goals for 2020, as well the current status of EDA loans and finances. Among those was an update on the Ag Center, which the EDA owns, which shows it will be making a small profit of about $8,000 this year.

Learned a group called One Million Cups will be hosting an event in Blue Earth on April 8 of 2020.

The EDA will be acting as an event sponsor, this means buying the coffee for the meeting which is meant for entrepreneurs to be able to pitch their ideas. It will be held at the Ag Center.

Accepted their slate of new officers for the 2020 year. They include Ann Hanna as president, Peggy Olson vice-president and Lissia Laehn treasurer. Other members are Jamie Jones and Bill Rosenau. Mayor Rick Scholtes and councilman John Huisman also serve as council liaisons to the EDA board.