Archived Story

FF Council to decide on sale of six houses on RTC campus

Published 11:06am Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The two developers vying for six houses on the Regional Treatment Center property near the intersection of Fir and Union avenues will have to keep waiting, as the Fergus Falls City Council on Monday delayed a decision on who it will sell the property to yet again.

After hearing the two developers’ pitches, alderman asked that the decision be placed on the agenda of the May 21 meeting, allowing them more time to decide who gets the RTC parcel known as Parcel D4.

In October 2011, the city put out a request for proposals for the parcel after local developers had shown interest. In December, the council winnowed the six development proposals down to two: that of Cory Budke and Marc Sikkink, who want to remodel the homes to rent out as either residential or possibly business property, and that of a group of people associated with the Business Network of Fergus Falls. The second proposal would remodel some or all of the homes and eventually turn the property into some sort of business development aid, depending on what happens with the rest of the RTC.

However, the two developers were delayed for months over council concerns that potential RTC developers would want the whole of Parcel D (which includes the Kirkbride complex and the six houses). When those developers all fell through or were rejected, the council began the smaller scale process again.

“It’s not just buildings that we’re looking for; it’s individuals looking to support Fergus Falls’ (business climate),” said Dan Zierden, co-owner of Cullen’s Home Center and the presenter for the business group.

The Sikkink/Budke proposal, on the other hand, focused on a less ambitious but more assured outcome.

“It’s a very simple process,” said Sikkink. “We look at those as six houses up at the RTC. We think they best serve the community as six houses.”

Council members liked the business development nature of the business group’s proposal, and they liked the eventual donation of a house or funds from the sale of a house to Habitat for Humanity included in the Sikkink/Budke deal. However, the proposals were so different that the council wanted time to weigh the pros and cons.

“Looking at the two proposals, I see one that has more potential for long term job growth … and the other is weighing the certainty of getting something up front,” said Randy Synstelien. He added that when it comes to which outlook is better overall, “I don’t have an answer on that right now.”

  • goodfellow

    My advice to the council is when they finally do make a decision make it clear on the reasoning. Among many of the community there is a loss of confidence in the council in that decisions are made by personal feelings and not in the best interests of the community they represent. I would be curious to know what the other 4 proposals were that they rejected and why it was narrowed down to these two. All I ask to the council is: Do what you were elected to do… it should simply be to create, protect, and improve the quality of life to the best of your abilities.

  • t.j. johnson

    i will say i made a offer to the council. after getting the the 5k deposit, 20 copys of what you wanted to do, and a few other things.. my offer was 15k for one and house as is and 5k for another house as is. They could of sold the other house’s for more money. i would like to know how uch the other offers where for.

  • History CPR

    Dear Fergus Falls Residents and Honorable Leaders,

    I lived in the area for 30 years and when I did I wanted to see the Kaddatz building restored – proudly, folks have done a fine job on this endeavor! What a terrific location and how proud I am for Fergus Falls to have kept the building. Recently, after taking a tour of the Kirkbride, meeting the passionate leaders who provide their time and energy for the tours and the generosity of Fergus Falls Coaches along with “Friends of the Kirkbride” I’m compelled to “thank and encourage” all of those involved in trying to improve the historical value of this space for Fergus Falls.

    I understand the magnitude of saving the entire structure may not be possible. I can empathize with leaders on the task of trying to restore 7-blocks of dilapidated buildings. To do that in a positive way “historically” would be to revive an entire city and it would carry an astronomical price tag.

    However, for the sake of the historical value of the Tower Building, I urge city leaders to preserve the Tower building. In addition, please take urgent action to use some of the funds available and “turn on” the heating and cooling in ONLY the tower building so this structure can be fully restored.

    Consider utilization of the Tower building to provide a tourist destination point with interesting museum pieces for Fergus Falls and Central Minnesota. There are not enough educational sites in this region and not that many related to the Mental Health history – Fergus Falls can create a Minnesota Asylum History Center right in the incredibly valuable and significant Tower building!

    In the meantime, I urge Fergus Falls residents and friends of the Kirkbride to expand their preservation efforts and assist The Prospect House and Civil War Museum located in Battle Lake. Together, with all of the energy, positive action and stamina — Central Minnesota can have more history sites that create interest, learning opportunities and appreciation for Otter tail County on a national level.

    • nanajean

      Why is this same comment on every page regarding the Kirkbride. It seems Mara you have another agenda and it isn’t attached to anything that regards the Kirkbride.

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