The future of downtown Elk River, and whether to redevelop part of it, will be the topic of a joint meeting on Feb. 22.

The Elk River City Council, Elk River Economic Development Authority and Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority will host a town-hall-style meeting at 5:30 p.m. that Monday night at the Furniture and Things Community Event Center, located at 1000 School St.

The public is encouraged to attend this meeting and offer input on their vision for downtown Elk River’s future. No RSVP is required for the meeting.

An Elk River resident and developer proposed a vision, but the Elk River City Council on Jan. 4 unanimously denied a request to extend a preliminary development agreement that gave Modern Construction time to design a concept proposal for a high density, market rate, mixed-use development in downtown Elk River.

The decision brought an end to an exclusive agreement with Jesse Hartung, the owner of both Modern Construction and Tipsy Chicken. He had proposed a $40 million project concept proposal and public-private partnership emanating from the city-owned downtown parking lot.

In a letter to the city, Hartung requested a six-month extension for community engagement and to drill further into the designs and preliminary engineering. Hartung was not at the Jan. 4 meeting. He sent a letter to the Star News on Jan. 7 announcing he was withdrawing his proposal.

The decision to deny the extension makes it possible to let pent-up public reaction to spill out publicly, something city leaders still want to have happen even though Hartung had withdrawn his proposal. A petition opposing the proposal had been presented to the council. The HRA has been looking at the potential for redevelopment in the downtown for several years. The city owns and controls parcels of land downtown which make up the King Avenue parking lot. There are no plans currently for redevelopment, but it has also been a topic of comprehensive planning efforts.

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