At the St. Michael City Council meeting Sept. 28, the council approved that the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee for the Wright County Grant Agreement funds can have 23 to 24 members. In 2020, there were around 20 people on the committee.
The committee helps to decide where the grant funds can be used to promote healthy communities within St. Michael. Some possible projects are transportation, parks and trails and land use. At this time the county has $7,700 available, but more money can become available within the year.
There are already 17 members on the committee, which includes a wide range of people from community residents, to business owners, a teacher, city council members (Keith Wettschreck and Ryan Gleason) and more. The city solicited more members through social media in the hope of getting input from newer residents. Six new people have expressed interest and were approved to join the committee at the council meeting.
“I was impressed with all [who applied],” Community Development Director Marc Weigle said.
Before the meeting, the council received applications and bios from those who applied.
Councilor Joe Hagerty was curious if anyone would watch over the meetings to make sure the committee would stay on task. “Will there be a chair? Just somebody who can kind of guide them if it starts getting into the weeds?” he asked.
“Generally, the consultant is supposed to be the facilitator,” Weigle answered. The consultant hasn’t been named yet.
EDA action discussion
Also in the meeting, the council discussed the drafted minutes from the Economic Development Authority meeting. The EDA voted and approved to sell the property at 105 Central Avenue E. The buyer is agreeing to construct a minimum of a 3,500-square-foot building, but they plan on making the building at least 4,000-square-feet
The EDA also discussed a potential buyer of another property located at the northwest corner of Highway 241 and Naber Avenue NE. The buyer is an undisclosed business that is a larger raw material distributor who would potentially build an industrial building that’s one story tall and would have semi-trucks and forklifts coming in and out of the property and building.
“Initial reaction from [the EDA committee] was that [the industrial building] might be a tough sell,” Weigle said. “It’s adjacent to residential areas.”
Weigle was not concerned by noise from the building since it would be on 32 acres, but the property would back into about a dozen townhomes. The potential buyer’s designs have green space around the building to buffer noise.
The business is looking to start with 30 jobs then maybe increase to 100. The contractor from the business at the EDA meeting stated that the loudest noises from the business would be the sound of truck noises.
“I’m not opposed to industrial [use] in general in that area,” councilor Wettschreck said. “I think it could be a good fit, but it has to have something more than [100 jobs].”
Some members of the council shared worries about the business expanding the building after it is built.
“I had a hesitation after the fact,” Councilor Nadine Schoen said. “What they presented was wonderful. My biggest hesitation is what happens down the line... There are residential homes back there. My biggest hesitation is what if.”
Representative from the potential business are planning to attend the upcoming Oct. 6 Planning Commission meeting.
The city council also:
APPROVED contracting Loucks Associates for design services for the new Barthel neighborhood park. The proposed amount is $107,200 to Loucks Associates out of the $740,000 slated budget for the park.