EDA gives parcel of land to city

NEW ULM — The Economic Development Authority gave the city an early Valentine on Tuesday. The EDA donated a parcel of land next to the Kiesling house to the city.

The parcel of land is located between the Kiesling House and the Lamplighter Bar and Grill. At this time the parcel is mostly empty green space and it will likely remain green space under city ownership. Through this donation Kiesling Park has increased in size and more of the park can be utilized for historical programing and other events during the summer months. Prior to the sale, the city was maintaining the parcel in terms of lawn care.

Lamplighter does have an easement agreement for the property that will remain in full force. The agreement allows Lamplighter to slightly encroach for their awing and exhaust venting, along with use of the rear area of the lot for parking in exchange for $1,000 per year.

Initially Brown County had the parcel valued at $25,000. The city was prepared to purchase the property from the EDA at this cost, but the EDA decided to give the city the parcel.

EDA member Les Schultz was reluctant to part with the parcel free of charge. He acknowledged charging $25,000 was too high, but believed the EDA should split the difference in cost.

EDA Chair Charles Schmitz favored donating it. He felt the EDA had received a generous enough compensation from Lamplighter over the years to justify gifting the land to the city now.

Susan Fix commented that most people in New Ulm already assumed this parcel belonged to the Kiesling House. Fix felt the two parcels worked well together and it was important to keep them together.

Daniel Braam made a resolution to donate the parcel, seeing it as a benefit to the community.

The resolution passed 5 to 1 with Schultz voting against.

Later in the meeting, the EDA discussed changing the pricing structure for the nine unsold lots in Milford Heights Phase One.

The EDA owns these nine lots. The price for the lots was originally set at $15,000, $17,500 and $22,000, based on size. The prices were reduced by $2,500 in September 2012.

Seven of the original lots have been sold.

Schultz suggested bundling all the lots as one package to sell to construction companies or ask companies to make an offer.

Schmitz felt the construction going on in Milford Heights Phase Two could stimulate further lot sales.

Braam favored offering a package deal based on the current housing market.

Fix suggested another price reduction on the lots to gauge interest.

Ultimately the board chose to table the issue until they could gather additional information. Braam opposed tabling the decision.

In other news, New Ulm Economic Development Corporation (NUEDC) Brian Tohal delivered his monthly report to the EDA. In the last month, NUEDC has been visiting with Windings about a possible expansion. The company is inquiring about tax increment financing and tax abatement.

Tohal has also worked with Eric Bode who has expressed interest in securing an electrical rebate for a data storage business he started.