Report on the April EDA Board meeting.

EDA Board discussion on downtown district rehab plans continued at their April meeting. As I mentioned last month, the Board is striving to put together a comprehensive plan for this year, as well as in the coming years, that addresses the needs of the downtown area and works toward making improvements on buildings and properties that will be both aesthetic and practical. The Board’s discussion also reflected on the Ron Drake visit and presentations to various community groups. The Board is waiting to receive the input and feedback from Ron regarding his thoughts on downtown redevelopment and revitalization in Sleepy Eye. The Board was impressed with the content of the meetings that Ron had at the noon and Monday evening meetings, as well as the great final meeting on Wednesday evening with the community invited to attend. There was a great showing of both young and old alike from the community at this meeting. The invoice for Ron Drake’s services was approved for payment. After we receive Ron’s report, hold the EDA Board’s upcoming meeting with the Young Professionals group, and the future meetings with high school students from both high schools, the EDA will begin to formulate their plan in more specifics using the information that is received from all these resources. Anyone else from the community with thoughts, suggestions, and/or ideas should feel free to share them with me or any of the EDA Board members.

The Board continued to brainstorm plans and details for the corner property on Highways 4 and 14. Since the street work being done this summer will involve replacing the sidewalks, the Board has decided to just plant grass on the property for now and wait for a final decision on the plan until the road and sidewalk work has been completed. This will probably mean that there will just be grass in that corner for this summer season. There have been numerous ideas about this location discussed at this point, and if anyone wishes to share their thoughts on what they might like to see there please let me know or talk to an EDA Board member.

There has been a verbal inquiry regarding changing the city ordinance concerning residential units in buildings on Main Street, on the ground level. There is a possibility of a building currently for sale that may be purchased, and the new owner wishes to put an apartment on the first floor. The EDA Board discussed many different aspects, issues, and concerns in regard to this possible proposal. However, because at this time there has been no written request or any written plans towards this idea, the Board has taken no action on the possibility of doing this. It will take a recommendation and request of the EDA Board to the City Council to change this ordinance. There will continue to be much discussion on this topic so that all aspects, both pro and con, are considered. It could quite possibly be a request that is considered on every individual situation and/or request. The Board looks to have more consideration and discussion on this topic before any action is taken.

An application for the Capital Improvement Loan Assistance Program was submitted to the EDA Board for consideration. The Board approved the application from BJ’s Salon, and will work with SPFCU on this project.

The Little Sprouts Learning Center Board continues their efforts, and is close to submitting their application for licensure. Little Sprouts Learning Center, Inc. will offer childcare services in the building just south of the public school. This center is open to the public and is currently taking enrollment of children who are in need of daily childcare. The Little Sprouts Learning Center has set June 4 as the take-over date, however, if it is possible—and it appears to be—it may occur sooner than that. The phone number for enrollment and/or more information is: 794-8785. They also have a Facebook page for more information.

The EDA strives to continue to move forward in a positive manner by maintaining and improving the community through retention and growth of business, industry, and services. If anyone has any questions, wants more information, or would like more details on any of the projects the EDA is working on, please feel free to contact me.