EDA continues to struggle with title issues delaying Twiford Redevelopment project

By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Chatfield News

The Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) reviewed the past month’s business and upcoming projects during its Monday, March 25, meeting held at the Chatfield Center for the Arts (CCA).

EDA Director Chris Giesen brought forward the 2018 annual report for the EDA’s inspection, outlining the various projects that have been completed or are in progress and noting that the value of new construction residential property has declined slightly since 2017. (See related story)

Then Giesen spoke about the Twiford redevelopment project and the efforts to build a Dollar General store on the corner to the south of Sunshine Foods and F&M Community Bank. He stated the title issues that have held up the project – namely, that one small parcel was in tax forfeiture and therefore must be cleared by the state and Olmsted County to be part of the assembled lot.

“We’re still in the process of title issues, but I think that Olmsted County is meeting April 2 in Rochester…I don’t know if this is going to require us to hold a special meeting or not,” Giesen said.

Giesen went on to tell about the $233,000 Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant that had been used to overhaul the infrastructure for the redevelopment and how the state would like to reclaim its funding because there is no building or ground broken for a building within the five-year time limit required for DEED funding.

“We’re still trying to meet with the DEED commissioner to resolve the DEED grant, and Sen. Jeremy Miller is meeting with DEED as well. It wasn’t something we set out to do. This is out of the city’s control – we were setting up a business agreement and trying to get it developed,” Giesen said. “We’ve made one payment already, and the next would be in August. When Dollar General is finished sometime between October and December, there won’t be any payments. The dollar store project is all going in the right direction, and the longest will be the quiet title action because the railroad still owns some land.”

He shared that lobbying at the state Legislature for second phase CCA renovation funding is underway and the city is taking an active role in promoting the continuation of restoring the 1916 school building to serve as a community center and lobby for Potter Auditorium.

“We’re asking for $9 million to finish this side of the building,” he added.

After that, Giesen reported that the revolving loans that have been issued to local business owners are all up to date thanks to automatic payments.

He also noted there have been entrepreneurs or business owners expressing interest in locating in Chatfield or developing housing – some of those the result of a bus tour the EDA participated in approximately a year ago to foster awareness of available properties and opportunities.

He said the Amco Drive housing project is going to move forward with more homes built there over the year and beyond, and that strategic planning is needed to help decide how to grant tax increment financing (TIF) and determine what projects might need the EDA’s underwriting.

He closed the meeting with the question that defines the EDA’s mission, “What is it that you’d like Chatfield to look like ten, 20 or 30 years from now?”