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Wells EDA revamps application forms

By Staff | Dec 22, 2019

The Wells EDA’s redesign of their commercial building enhancement grant application has worked. They have already received an application to help not only beautify the Wells downtown a bit more, but to help a local business, the Humble Heart, which is in the process of switching buildings.

During their regular meeting on Thursday, Dec. 12, members of the EDA discussed how well the first application they received went, and what they can do in the future to not only make the process easier for the applicant, but thorough enough for the EDA and other governing bodies that assist with the grant.

“This is a good program, but it requires the application first,” said Brad Heggen.

The Humble Heart began their improvement work before the application was submitted, which could set a dangerous precedent with future applications.

“Since we’re nearing the end of the fiscal year, and pending weather may have come into play here, I say we proceed with the project as presented,” said EDA member John Herman.

The application which was presented included requesting $644 to assist with the Humble Heart’s current location, and $4,457 to assist in improvements at their new location at 49 South Broadway in Wells.

“I think in the future, we should really push the idea of getting multiple bids in with projects, especially big projects,” stated EDA member Lauren Schuster.

“I would agree, and I think we want to emphasize the use of Wells businesses and contractors with these projects whenever possible,” added Heggen. “The point of this grant is to help these Wells businesses and overall, to improve the downtown area in Wells. I think Kristi (Feist) is doing just that.”

In the future, the EDA hopes to continue to shape the policy so it is beneficial to all who use the grant application to assist with material and labor costs in improving their downtown businesses.

Wells’ administrative associate Tiffany Schrader was at the?EDA?meeting to bring an update on the search for childcare to help assist in the city’s ongoing childcare shortage. She stated there is one new interested party who has toured the CCF Bank facility space for childcare. Schrader shared the potential candidate has a background in childcare and is hopeful this potential candidate will continue forward with the process.

“Right now, things have lost a little momentum compared to what it was earlier, but I’m still feeling confident about the providers who have come to speak with us about childcare. We’ve gotten a lot of phone calls, but no applications yet,” she shared.

On the subject of growth, the EDA also discussed their new business park and how things are going with selling the lots available, including the purchase agreement between Amos Boeck and the city for a TIF-certified lot in the business park. Boeck was available at the meeting to answer questions and discuss the progress of his plan with the EDA.

“It’s been a long process,” shared Boeck. “It seems like when the blood is in the water, there is a lot of biting. But this whole process has been for the sake of keeping this business in Wells, and we are doing everything we can to keep this business local. We are mid-process for formal financing, and we are aiming for March to begin building.”

The EDA’s agreement with Boeck, after his efforts of trying to use an already standing building in Wells fell through, defined a new contingency date, with all other terms staying as is, was approved by the board.

The eight lots in the Wells Business Park, which have yet to be sold, were given proposed property tax numbers for 2020. President Heggen stated the lots went down by a total of $2,000.

“It’s not too extreme, considering,” said Heggen. “It’s to be expected, and once those lots sell, we’ll see different numbers. This is only a proposed property tax for 2020.”

With regard to the city’s north and south industrial parks, Schuster made a formal motion to retain Brad Heggen as the realtor for another six months.

“Selling these lots is a tough sell,” added Herman to Schuster’s motion. “And I’m not just saying that because he’s on the EDA board. I’m saying that because he is knowledgeable, he is thorough, and he has a positive reputation for what he does in realty.”

With Heggen abstaining, EDA member Sue Nasinek seconded Schusters motion, which was carried and approved by the EDA.

The last agenda item for the Wells EDA this month was to go into closed session to consider offers or counteroffers for the sale of real property owned by the EDA. They approved a motion to accept the unnamed purchase agreement as presented with a motion by Herman and a second by Schuster.

It won’t be until 2020 when the EDA meets again for the city of Wells. Their next scheduled meeting is set for Jan. 9, at 5 p.m. in the Wells Community Center.