EDA continues to work on resolving issues for future site of Dollar General

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

The Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) held its June meeting as an unofficial meeting due to the lack of a quorum. Three members – Mike Urban, Paul Novotny and Michael Tuohy — and EDA Director Chris Giesen gathered to review the agenda. The EDA members discussed the development of a Dollar General store on the corner of Twiford and Division streets that had encountered obstacles when the EDA attempted to assemble its land and found that parcels still belonged to private parties, Union Pacific Railroad and Ferrell Gas.

Giesen reported that the EDA couldn’t resolve the title issue with Union Pacific and the city attorney is considering legal options for acquiring the small parcel. On the other hand, Ferrell Gas is willing to work with the EDA to clear the title for the patch near its station that the EDA would like to round up to complete the Twiford redevelopment lot.

Giesen stated, “Dollar General seems to be moving forward. There are some title issues that we’ve worked on fixing. The city council, back in January, approved two plats – one with the issues fixed and the other excluding a triangle of land. The developers can’t work with the one that excludes the triangle.”

He went on to explain that the developers for Dollar General would be willing to adjust their site plan for the alternate plat because they have to get this building done by the end of the year.

“Once we’ve got all the issues resolved within the alternative plat, we’ll continue to try to resolve things,” Giesen continued. “The project is moving forward, but there are small technical details. They’re hoping to start in mid-July and finish by December 31. At this point, it’s full-steam ahead. It’s been encouraging that we’ve been getting calls for contractors, so it looks like it’s moving forward. Apparently, it doesn’t take a lot to build these buildings.”

Conversation turned toward other economic development prospects in Chatfield, including the ongoing quest to find a way to build a hotel.

“Housing and hotels…I’ve had multiple developers calling about lots, land, what the city can do to help,” Giesen said. “It’s exciting that people are interested. The lot inventory is back down to just about nothing, but there have been properties that have changed hands, which makes opportunities. As for hotels, a couple people have been kicking tires on that. I hear everybody wants a hotel in town, and it’s great that everybody is interested in seeing that kind of project, but it’s a matter of who’s willing to invest in it and operate it.”

 Giesen and the trio also reviewed a revolving loan request from Josh Broadwater for $55,500 to build a service shop on Enterprise Drive, and no action was taken, but the loan will likely be considered by the City Council soon, as lots on Enterprise Drive have been ready for construction of light industrial shops for some time and the EDA is excited to see development happening there.