NORTH MANKATO —
He said no retail developments have been proposed for the Marigold site — or elsewhere downtown — and said bringing residents to the area may be the last chance to save the area.
“If downtown starts slipping away — if there’s empty buildings — it’s hard to do anything about getting it back.”
While the renewed effort to bring well over 100 new residents to the downtown was viewed as a way to help revitalize a struggling Main Street, one resident warned commissioners not to throw support behind something without listening to residents and without first developing a long-range development plan for the area.
Barb Church, who lives next to the Marigold site and was instrumental in raising issues that stalled the earlier project, said she doesn’t have any details to judge the new project. But she said the city shouldn’t simply assume that bringing residents downtown is the best approach or what residents want.
“You need a land-use plan, a long-range development plan, and you need to listen to citizens,” Church said. “You can’t just have a little committee decide what’s best for the rest of us.”
Arnold noted the trend around the country is that more people are choosing to live in downtown areas. Church agreed but said the city still needs to be deliberative rather than “going with the flavor of the month.”
Getting a project built on the site could slightly benefit all property taxpayers in the city. That’s because the city in the past sold bonds to buy and remove homes in the area and prepare the site for potential development.
Those bonds have a balloon payment coming that needs to be paid for either with additional property taxes generated by a new development on the site or by other means — most likely city general fund money that would be paid for by taxpayers. The city has said that the cost for those bonds to property taxpayers would be less than $4 annually for a $100,000 home and less than $10 for a $200,000 home.