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April 17, 2021

1/29/2021 2:21:00 PM
Lindstrom Council revises former Meredee's/Dinnerbel agreement; ponds with invasive goldfish to be poisoned

The agreement between the City of Lindstrom and the company behind a proposed restaurant, marina and apartment complex on the site of the old Dinnerbel/Meredee’s has been revised, again.  Project financing issues remain unresolved but in the meantime,   Northland asked the city council to agree to revise the Tax Increment Financing contract wording that is integral to assisting in making the project happen.  Lindstrom will redirect approximately $3.3 million in property tax payments back to Northland to cover expenses for the project. The expected revenue is based on the “increment” equal to the increase in parcel value,  from what it generated as an undeveloped unimproved site and its estimated $14 million new project valuation.

City Administrator John Olinger explained the agreement’s interest rate and deadlines need to be revised in light of the new backing the company is seeking from HUD.  The financing will almost certainly be at a lower interest rate than what was first calculated, which should be on the plus side, it was noted.  The TIF contract was also extended out two more years, to full property tax incoming in 2045 due to the delays.

The construction start date originally had been set for Dec. 2019 and the vote last week changed this to the new start date in Sept. 2021.  

“They are committed to the project,” Olinger assured council.  

The city is not altering the “footprint” of the project, and even if there’s no available financial support for the restaurant component now— there will be a restaurant built someday, he assured council.

Council member Bill Schlumbohm said minus the restaurant he wasn’t going to continue to work with Northland on this.

Mayor Kevin Stenson said the new concept being outlined for the marina becomes the “commercial” aspect, supplanting the eatery.  Having a commercial entity in with the 92 proposed apartments had been one of the reasons the city agreed to create a Tax Increment Financing District in the first place.

The Northland proposal has had a few different working titles (“The Overlook,” “Peninsula” “Lindstrom Apartments”) and various site plans.  Site redevelopment  came to the city’s attention over three years ago, and since the initial unveiling of plans, there’s been a new mayor and two new council members seated, and another council person is new, but she was on the planning commission earlier.

Based on assurances the restaurant and commercial square footage will be included at some point in time, the council agreed to the requested TIF revisions.

The council, who were all masked and attending in-person,  also approved a change in the Olinda Trail Apartments project.

The switch from a gabled (pitched) roofline to a flat roof does not require any additional hearings, council was advised. As a major change, though, Planner Rita Trapp wanted to run the aesthetic past council and get feedback and approval.

The flat roof is allowed in code, and became the new roofline of choice when the builders, Blackhoof development, had actual prices for sprinklers and other logistical concerns with gable versus flat.

Engineer Jon Herdegen reported that the trail connecting the 288th neighborhood with the high school, along Olinda Trail, is proceeding well. Four of six property easements or right-of-way needs are finalized and the trail has a spring of 2022 construction start date.

The Allemansratt Park bridges were reviewed and one of two eliminated. The city won a 50-50 grant from the state Dept. of Natural Resources to install foot bridges in the park, on the north end of town. One location lacks the terrain elevation conducive to the design to be built. Engineer Herdegen explained, the westerly bridge will become a boardwalk style, to keep the trail above wet areas.  Both bridges are in the vicinity of  the  Bull Lake area of the park.  The bridge and walkway installations will go out for bids soon, Herdegen said.  The window for the completion will be about 18 months so the winning contractor can opt to do the work in frozen weather or warm weather,  as it suits.

Goldfish update
Council approved proceeding with a chemical eradication (poisoning) of invasive goldfish inhabiting two city holding ponds.  The fish (see story Jan. 21) are expanding in numbers and will be able to migrate with run-off from the ponds, as water moves into Kroon Lake, which council has been advised, would be an ecological disaster.  The pond ice will be cut and a fatal chemical applied in the near future.

Come spring the city will “monitor” the ponds for dead fish remains and odors, the council was told.

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