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FEDA moves on White Tail Ridge

FAIRMONT– The Fairmont Economic Development Authority took action on potential further development of White Tail Ridge during its meeting on Monday.

Fairmont Economic Development Director, Linsey Preuss, said staff has been participating in the Minnesota Housing Partnership’s Housing Institute for the past 18 months. Last month, three members of Fairmont’s team attended a Housing Institute Summit.

Preuss said they heard of developers who are interested in building in other communities, but the biggest challenge for them has been acquiring a site.

“They said if you have a site available, you should put out an RFP (Request For Proposal) and let different developers put out a proposal on what they would do with the land and move on from there,” Preuss said.

There is a block of eight residential lots in mind. Developers could build small scale residential options including single family, twin homes, duplexes, townhomes, but not apartment buildings, as it’s not the proper zoning.

Preuss said if FEDA wanted to, she could write up some RFPs and submit it to developers to see what they would build there.

“They’re not moving like wildfire anymore, are they?” said Bruce Peters.

Preuss said they would get the proposals, review them as a small committee and make a recommendation to the full FEDA board.

She said now is a good time to get started as it will take time to do panning before ground can be broken in the spring.

“I’d like to see something getting built there this spring,” Preuss said.

FEDA approved Preuss to draft an RFP to develop the eight residential lots.

FEDA also considered a proposal from Resimplifi, a technology and data provider focused on commercial real estate and economic development industries during its meeting on Monday.

Preuss said right now updating the available listings is something she does once or twice a year, so everything isn’t always as up to date as it could be.

She said when businesses are looking, they look online first, but usually won’t get all of the information they need, or all of the correct information.

“We are getting asked a lot, are there buildings, are there sites available,” Preuss said.

The cost is $3,500 a year and all available buildings and sites in the community, both for sale and for lease, will be listed by the company.

Preuss said Resimplifi will look at it weekly and provide FEDA a summary monthly. FEDA approved of working with the company.

FEDA also approved committing staff time and $5,000 toward a matching grant from the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation.

The $20,000 grant will help educate businesses on succession planning and let them know that there are resources available.

“We know there have been businesses recently that have been closed and they closed because that was their retirement strategy. With that we really want to educate folks that there are buyers out there who are interested in buying businesses and educating them,” Preuss said.

Preuss said that the Chamber and Fairmont Community Education and Recreation also feel strongly that this is a need in the community, but that FEDA would be the steering group.

She said they plan to have local people who have been through the process who can share their best practices and what should be avoided.

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