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City Moves To Assist With Building Removal

By Staff | Nov 26, 2010

Emmetsburg City Council will assist with the removal of the former Wards building at 917 Broadway, downtown Emmetsburg. Two weeks ago the council pledged financial support. After a meeting of the Finance, Ordinance and Personnel Committee before the council meeting on Monday, the committee recommended using Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds to help finance the project.

Councilman Steve Finer said the committee considered several different options to meeting the financial commitment of $60,000, and decided to use TIF funds.

By unanimous vote, the council approved the motion: “to approve certifying $20,000 in South TIF for three years for a total of $60,000, remove the Ontario/Duffy project certification of $14,125 from South TIF to cover the council’s commitment in assisting in the removal of the former Wards building located at 917 Broadway.”

“We had good discussion with several different options, but decided to certify $60,000 in TIF,” said Finer. “In doing that we’re going to remove the Ontario project. We had three years left of $14,125.”

Finer added, “With refinancing of the city’s monies, it’s actually going to end up being less doing it that way in the South TIF.”

Residents attended Monday’s City Council meeting to speak at the public hearing to rezone the former middle school property from R-2 medium density residential to C-1 general commercial at the request of building owner Dan Kesterson.

Bob McNally, neighboring property owner, is not in favor of the rezoning. He stated concerns about commercial, off-street parking and potential commercial retail sales. McNally suggested stipulations on what the building could be used for, not just try things out.

Mike Naig expressed concerns about the property getting all junky.

“Our homes, when we had them appraised, were for a school,” said Lynn Wolter. “We have to look at it for the future. I agree with the retail space. The point I’m making, we want to see it kept up.”

Councilman Finer commented, “He’s probably going to have several things in there I understand your concerns, but I don’t want to see his hands tied. I just don’t want to see a huge building sitting idle.”

Councilman Corey Gramowski pointed out that the street itself cannot be used for semi truck parking.

The council approved rezoning the former middle school building to C-1 general commercial. Because there were only four council members present, the second and third considerations of the ordinance could not be waived. The second consideration is set for Dec. 13.

For two years the Monroe Street project has been put on hold. Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities is ready to move ahead with replacing the infrastructure on Monroe and the City Council voted Monday to move ahead with the project as well. Council representatives voted to proceed with engineering for the Monroe Street project.

Mayor John Schad appointed Deb Davis to serve on the Emmetsburg Municipal Utilities Board of Trustees. She will replace Dan Cooper on the board.

Mayor Schad informed the council that he would not be signing the ordinance pertaining to docks, which was recently amended with an appeal procedure.

“I have serious problems with that (the ordinance),” Schad told the council. “I toyed with the idea of vetoing it and finally decided a better approach would be to let it run its course and not sign it.”

Schad explained that a veto would have had to be filed by noon Monday, Nov. 22. “I didn’t do that so it will become law, even without the mayor’s signature, but it makes it clear that I’m not happy with it.”

Mayor Schad requested that the Finance, Ordinance and Personnel Committee meet to rejuvenate the entire ordinance.