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LP hopes to use former county site to attract new business
Feb. 7, 2020

Ivan Raconteur

LESTER PRAIRIE, MN – It may not look like much now, but Lester Prairie City Administrator Mike Skrbich and the Lester Prairie Economic Development Authority (EDA) see a lot of potential for the former county highway shop along McLeod County Road 9 on the east side of the city.

“It’s the highest traffic count area we have, other than Highway 7,” Skrbich commented.

The city is currently seeking proposals for the redevelopment of the property at 18454 Co. Rd. 9 (at the intersection with Co. Rd. 23).

Skrbich said the city “has been working hand-in-hand with Bergen Township and McLeod County” for annexation and acquisition of the site, which totals about two acres.

“We’re nearing the end of the process,” Skrbich commented.

An environmental review has already been completed, with clear results. As a result, the county, the city, and the developer of the site will all be protected through an indemnification process, Skrbich noted.

The site is highly visible due to its proximity to the Lester Prairie Clinic and Casey’s General Store.

In addition to visibility and access to transportation, there is already city sewer and water available on the site, which is likely to make it attractive to potential developers, according to Skrbich.

“It’s definitely a prime spot,” he commented.

Developing the site will put the property on the city’s tax rolls, and expanding the city’s tax base is one of the goals of the EDA.

Skrbich said the city is hoping to work with a retail-oriented business for the site.

Although there is an existing building on the site, Skrbich said the expectation is that the structure will be demolished and replaced with new construction.

“It [the building] has outlived its functional life,” he said.

Skrbich noted the site is ready for development, and proposals will be scored and evaluated based on:

• the number of jobs created with the proposed use;

• retail products to be sold, with a preference for the sale of fresh produce and groceries;

• building size, property valuation, and construction design;

• long-term benefits to the community and future growth potential; and

• construction readiness and proposed timeline.

The EDA deadline for proposals for evaluation is Friday, Feb. 21 at 4 p.m. Proposals should be delivered to Lester Prairie City Hall, 37 Juniper St., Lester Prairie, MN 55354. The EDA retains the right to accept or reject any and all proposals.

Questions can be directed to Skrbich at 320-613-6054.

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