On October 10, the Rushford City Council voted unanimously to approve the terms of an internal loan in connection with a possible future redevelopment Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District within Municipal Development District No. 1.
This move aims to assist with costs associated with the Rushford Redevelopment Project – COOP site (the former Farmers Win Cooperative site) should the city need to utilize a TIF district. The Economic Development Authority and city are purchasing the site from Farmers Win. The city anticipates closing on the deal soon. It’s unclear at this time just what development plans the city has for the three commercial parcels. According to county documentation, they equate to just over 1.4 acres of prime downtown land.
Certain costs in determining the not-to-exceed figure of $995,000 included land acquisition, site improvements, demolition, public improvements and associated costs such as planning and legal consultation. The city may finance these costs in whole or in part, temporarily, from the General Fund. If utilized, the city intends to reimburse itself for qualified expenses from tax increments derived from the TIF district.
The city plans to thoroughly inspect buildings, which will be documented and photographed, and conduct environmental studies. The council will also consider future resolutions, including those that may determine substandard buildings and ensure demolition takes place. Depending on plans, the city will have up to three years after any demolition to establish the Redevelopment TIF District or some other type. According to City Clerk Kathy Zacher, financial consultant Mike Bubany suggested making the TIF district limit high enough to cover potential costs.
“It’s important that we as council communicate that the city will be reaching out to the community to determine the best use of that parcel,” stressed Mayor Terri Benson, referring to a notice that went out to the community last month.
The notice states the EDA/city will initiate a public engagement process to let the community decide the best future use. The process will include public participation and input, site concepts, and funding details. The city will provide additional information about the process once the sale is complete.
The council also approved a Revolving Loan Fund, Commercial Improvement Loan to Branded Main & Co., LLC, Emily and Leslie Ladewig. The loan will assist in funding property acquisition and improvements at Unit 10, Condominium #1 Professional Building, 120 West Jessie Street.
“It fits exactly what we’ve been looking at in the EDA to try to get these loans a little smaller and moving along,” said Councilor and EDA member Leigh Volkman. “It’ll be improving a property that’s been…”
“Sitting?” chimed in Benson.
“Yeah. It’ll be a good use for it,” added Volkman.
“It should give them a boost,” said Benson. “We wish them a lot of luck.”
While welcoming in one business, the council noted that long-time business Jessie Street Java, just down the block, will be closing its doors on Saturday, November 18.
A statement from the coffeehouse’s Facebook page, provided in the agenda, read: “It saddens us to think a decade of coffee brewing is about to come to an end – however, it is time for our family to step away. We have been so fortunate to serve this community and blessed to be able to be received so well by our many local regulars. We will miss you!”
In other news, the council approved a report from the Rushford Fire Department Chief Chad Rasmussen, including the fire contract renewals for area townships and cities contracting for fire services. The contract is for 2024 and 2025.
“Some said it was a big jump for their township,” noted Zacher. “Market values change every year. If next year it goes up, we won’t be adjusting the rate. Cities and townships can plan on this for two years.”
The water tower project is nearing completion. “It’s very impressive,” said Benson, who recently toured the tower. “Public works is very proud of it, and they should be.” The new logo is now visible.
Lighting on the city trail extension, behind Eiken Drive, to the school is complete. Public Works is installing a railing where the old and new sidewalks meet.
The placement of the new city entrance sign, off Highway 43 north of the city, is being finalized with MnDOT and MN Energy Resources and will be installed soon.
The Library Board has hired Cory Baker to construct the Susan Hart Memorial Gazebo behind the city hall and the public library. Councilor and Library Board Member Jim O’Donnell said they intend to break ground next week. Weather permitting, Baker will complete the gazebo by the end of November.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, October 23, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.