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New apartment building coming to BE?

By Staff | Jul 26, 2020

The Blue Earth City Council learned last night there could soon be a multi-unit apartment building constructed in the city.

APX Construction Group of Mankato has made a proposal to the city’s Housing and Rehabilitation Authority (HRA) to build an apartment complex of 20 to 23 one and two bedroom apartments on a lot on 14th Street just east of the city’s tennis courts.

The HRA owns the lot and it currently contains one of the two city-owned dog parks and the community garden areas.

The HRA is in favor of selling the lot to APX at a price of $1, the council was told.

The council voted to have a second reading of an ordinance at their second meeting in August which would transfer the ownership of the property to APX. There would also be a joint city/HRA public hearing on the proposal at the same meeting on Aug. 17.

The HRA and APX already have several other projects in the works for this summer. Those include construction of multi-family units including townhomes and duplexes in two spots in the current city residential areas as well as locations in the new Prairie View subdivision on the northeast side of town.

Some of the council members asked if this new project would hamper the other ones already in the works.

City attorney David Frundt said it would not affect the other projects.

Mayor Rick Scholtes said APX is ready to start on the apartment building yet this fall. He also said APX reported that the overall cost of the project would be $3 million.

The council will also have to work on either a tax abatement or Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in order to help facilitate the project, the mayor said.

In other business at last Monday night’s meeting, the council took care of several items having to do with the various street reconstruction projects around the city, including:

Voted to OK the purchase of a sewage grinder pump at a cost of $31,950, which will be assessed to the owner of the property the pump will serve in the Sailor Street Project area.

Voted to replace all of the sidewalks on Sixth Street in the South Sailor Street Project, instead of just replacing the areas which were removed for utility lines.

Cost of doing the extra sidewalk work will be $8,500 for a total of $17,923. This amount will be assessed to the affected property owners.

Two council members questioned whether the cost could be spread out over the whole project, but were told it could not be, according to the city assessment policy.

The vote to proceed with the sidewalk replacement was then unanimous.

Voted to accept two change orders for the Leland Parkway project. One was for new traffic control signs due to a change in the detour route. The city share is $487. The change in the detour is due to the construction work on I-90 between Blue Earth and Fairmont.

The other change order was for changes in the railroad abutments under the bridge above Leland Parkway, at a cost of $7,343, which will be paid in total by the county.

Voted to accept a bid of $41,109 from Asphalt Surface Technologies of St. Cloud for seal coating about 20 blocks of streets in the city.

The bid was well within budget and quite a bit lower than the other three bids which were as high as $61,000.

The blocks to be done are in the Upper Valley Drive neighborhood south of the high school, and also Ramsey Street from Seventh Street south to the city limits at 21st Street.

In other business at the meeting, the council:

Agreed to help pay for the installation of the new giant-sized musical instruments at Giant Park.

Councilman John Huisman reminded the council they had agreed to help pay for the installation and concrete work for the instruments. The instruments themselves were paid for by the Paul Hedberg family.

The total cost of the installation and concrete work came to $6,500, which is $1,500 over the original estimate of $5,000.

“The Blue Earth City Foundation is paying $1,500 of the cost,” Huisman said. “So we are asking the city to pay $5,000 of the cost instead of the original $3,500.”

The council called the new addition to the park a wonderful attraction and agreed to the extra cost, deciding it could come out of the liquor store funds.

Learned that liquor store sales are way up this year and are approaching $1 million.

Net profit at the end of June is at $75,356, more than double last year’s net profit of $35,714 at the same time of the year.

Approved a variance for a fence at 526 N. Main St., and a shed at 117 E. Ninth St.

Approved a resolution appointing the election judges for the upcoming elections.