The I-94 West Chamber of Commerce turned its annual State of Cities event into a series of three virtual meetings via ZOOM. The March 4 event featured officials from the cities of Corcoran, Dayton, Otsego and Rogers. Sponsor was Gries Lenhardt Allen attorneys.
Chamber President Greg Anzelc tossed questions at city officials. All of them said both residential and commercial development is booming, despite the pandemic. Here are highlights of comments from officials of each city.
Tom McKee, newly elected mayor of Corcoran, listed his city’s recent accomplishments. They include being named as a safe city, investment in parks and trails and major residential developments springing up in the eastern side of the city.
Among the new residential subdivisions are Ravinia, Bass Lake Crossing, the Bellwether Del Webb community (which has light industrial development on its east side) and Tavera. At this point, Ravinia has gotten approvals for 341 of its 485 proposed lots. St. Therese is likely to break ground in 2021 for a senior living campus proposed for property on County Road 116 south of Corcoran City Hall.
Corcoran has set as priorities expansion of broadband, digital technology, long term financial planning, fire service planning, updating city codes and bringing in-house services that have been performed by outside contractors, McKee said.
Dayton Mayor Dennis Fisher said his city’s greatest accomplishments in 2020 included completing the first phase of the 30-acre Elsie Stephens Park on the Mississippi River. An amphitheater and trails are part of the first phase.
Another accomplishment is construction of the roundabout at the Pineview Lane/Oakview Lane and County Road 121 intersection.
Fisher hoped new commercial construction will help bring down property taxes paid by Dayton residents. Dayton is expecting several new industrial/commercial users, including Kwik Trip on County Road 81 and MTL Companies north of Troy Lane. Graco is planning spring construction of a 500,000 square foot manufacturing facility.
Construction of the Dayton Parkway Interchange with Interstate I-94 is likely to open up the area to commercial/industrial growth, Fisher said.
Mayor Jessica Stockamp, of Otsego, said her city has 18 active residential developments, including new apartments. She stressed the importance of life cycle housing. Her goal is to see 10 to 13% of Otsego’s housing stock in the form of apartments.
Commercial development in Otsego in 2020 included a new Coborn’s grocery with a Caribou coffee shop, pharmacy, liquor store and gas station. Edina Realty, Lil Explorers Day Care and Michels Corporation are amongst other commercial developers.
New park features include a pickle ball court. A one-mile trail loop behind Riverview Landing will cross the river after spring completion.
Stockamp called Otsego the unofficial roundabout capital of Wright County. Nine roundabouts have been completed and two more are on the way.
City Administrator Steve Stahmer, of Rogers, said a number of housing developments are sprouting up in his city. Among them are Lennar’s Skye Meadows townhomes on Territorial Road, the Enclave market rate apartments on Commerce Boulevard, Rachel Development townhomes and apartments and Territorial Lofts apartments.
Rogers Mayor Rick Ihli said the new Rogers Event Center at Lions Central Park is the premier event center in this part of the metro area.
Stahmer said that a recent referendum on parks has provided $100,000 a month in revenue from a local sales tax. The money is funding spring construction of a splash pad in Lions Central Park and baseball fields and an ice skating rink at Sunny Side Park. A pedestrian overpass over Interstate 94 will be paid for with $2.2 million in state funds and matching funds from the sales tax.