Members of the Spring Grove EDA discussed recent developments at the Spring Grove Commercial Park on Aug. 27. Starting out with 10 lots, the EDA-owned property will have still have seven unsold parcels after Jerry Kraus, owner of Kraus Oil Company, completes the purchase of lot number three to add to land he already owns in the park.

Member Eric Ostern had some good news. He reported that an as-yet unnamed party is interested in purchasing lot number four for $3,500. Commissioners expressed favorable views on the offer, but noted that the potential buyer would want to go before the Spring Grove Planning Commission to see if the building he proposes to erect will fit zoning standards for the lot. Ostern said a fenced storage-type building of either 80x60 or 60x40 is envisioned for the site, with heat and water.

Ostern noted that a commercial-style building could have multiple uses, even if the original buyer were to sell the lot at a later date.

Commissioner JC Nerstad said that the parcel would be added to local tax rolls at commercial rates. That's an important consideration for both the city and the EDA, since 2014 marks the first year that the organization will be taxed on raw land they own in the park. Previous estimates placed those charges at $760 for each lot.

Nerstad said the board might want to approve the offer contingent on planning commission approval, but no motion was made to do so. If the buyer gets a green light from the city, he said that EDA should be prepared to provide additional gravel to the access driveway. Members also discussed fire hydrant accessibility to the lot as well as options for providing water, and appeared ready to approve the sale.

The board also agreed by consensus to pursue an idea already approved by an earlier vote; placing banner ads on the "For Sale" sign at the facility. Those will remind passersby on Highway 44 that "lots from $3,500" are still available.

Houston County economic development coordinator Rick Howden attended the meeting. He asked for "as much detail as possible" on Commercial Park lots for an ongoing update to the MN Prospector website which he's completing. The searchable site could steer potential developers to the Spring Grove facility, Howden stated.

Other EDA news:

Wednesday night "Detour Dollars" drawings will to move to fest building on Sept 4, members noted. Those will be continued until the grand prize drawing of $4,444 on Oct. 5.

EDA Secretary Tammy Stadtler reported that the Spring Grove Commercial Club will soon bill the organization for sponsorship of August "Music in the Park" dates. The total charges will probably be less than the $1,300 that commissioners agreed to provide on July 29, she added.

By consensus, commissioners agreed to survey local businesses that signed up for the Detour Dollars promotion to find out how well the advertising campaign worked. Also, those who have not paid in full to participate will be reminded that they still owe the EDA for advertising.

The survey could even lead to another promotion at a future date, members mused. Noting that the cost to promote local businesses will have to be a cooperative effort, President Howard Deters said, "We can't do it by ourselves."