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Fairmont development group seeks help selling lots

FAIRMONT — The Fairmont Economic Development Authority is turning the sale of Whitetail Ridge lots over to the professionals.

The board decided this week to seek bids from local real estate firms to handle the sale of the 10 remaining lots in the housing development off South Prairie Avenue.

Originally designed in 2017 with 20 lots, Whitetail Ridge was a collaborative effort between the city and Fairmont Area Schools to spur new residential building. The school district provided the land, valued at $200,000, with the city contributing the infrastructure and handling the sale of the lots. The school district will receive $10,000 from each lot sold, recouping the value of its land, with the remaining income used by the city to offset the cost of utilities and street improvements to the area.

FEDA members noted that initial interest in the lots was strong, with the larger, more expensive sections selling quickly, but sales have stagnated in the last year, leaving smaller lots starting at $45,000 and up remaining. The inactivity of sales prompted the decision to seek professional agents to handle marketing the properties.

The board discussed several aspects of the bid proposal, such as paying the real estate agent a percentage or flat fee for each sale. Linsey Preuss, economic development director said she would check with local agents about their preference.

Anyone submitting a bid proposal would be required to include a market analysis and price guidance for the properties.

In other business, Judd Schultz of Minnesota Valley Action Council outlined the process for handling the imminent Small Cities Development Grant that will inject $885,000 into rehabilitating businesses and owner-occupied single-family homes in a targeted area north of Blue Earth Avenue and east of Downtown Plaza.

Preuss updated the board on the new $610,000 revolving loan money from the federal EDA for businesses impacted by COVID-19. She anticipates the funding to come through any day. When the fund is established locally, FEDA will offer loans to any Martin County business of up to $25,000 at no interest and repayment in five years.

The board also welcomed Sarah Gerhard as its newest member, replacing Rich Johnson, whose term had expired. Gerhard is employed by the CPA firm of Erpelding, Voigt & Co. of Fairmont.

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