Archived Story

RTC demo deadline: Dec. 31, 2014 [UPDATED]

Published 11:07am Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Updated 11:08am Tuesday, June 5, 2012

After more negotiations with the state, Fergus Falls has gotten what appears almost certainly to be its last, latest drop-dead date to spend its Regional Treatment Center demolition grant: Dec. 31, 2014.

The city council approved the amended grant agreement at its Monday night meeting. In addition to the pushed-back completion date (the last one expired in 2013), the grant agreement also made several other changes, the most major allowing the city to spend some of the money to make exterior fixes to the buildings they would keep in a partial demolition (roofs, foundations, windows, and weatherproofing would all be accepted uses).

City Engineer Dan Edwards was not at the meeting, but Alderman Pat Connelly said he had spoken with Edwards recently and the timeline for potential demolition they had discussed in the wake of a grant extension would see Edwards bringing demolition documents to the council for approval in August. Connelly urged the council to be conscious of approaching deadlines for demolition and for the RTC Marketing Task Force to make sure the “dual track” of demolition preparation and a continued marketing attempt don’t conflict unnecessarily.

“We’re going to come to a head I would think at about mid-August where we’re going to have to have another really serious conversation,” he said.


RTC task force

The task force showed the city the initial draft of an informational document about the RTC that it will be sending out to eight potential marketers (some of them also potential developers) across the country. The task force plans on sending out the document later this week and beginning to winnow the companies down to two or three potential candidates, updating the council at its June 18 meeting and making a recommendation of some kind by the council’s July 2 meeting.

“They all have some background in historical preservation or historical reuse of properties,” said Chairman Tim Litt.

At the task force’s recommendation, the council also approved the task force’s cooperation with city staff to put up a “for sale” sign on the RTC grounds (expected to cost about $800) and to look into putting up a billboard advertising the building on Interstate Highway 94 south of town. The billboard space is being offered for free, with minimal costs associating with actually getting it up.

Though the “for sale” sign won’t likely do much to spread the word that the city is looking for a buyer, committee member Anthony Hicks said it’s a symbol that the city is still committed to trying to find a developer.

“It’s a matter of perception as much as anything,” he said.


Parcel D4

At the end of the meeting, the council approved the sale of Parcel D4 (the small portion of RTC land with six houses on it, near the intersection of Fir and Union avenues) and authorized City Administrator Mark Sievert to draw up a purchase agreement with developers Cory Budke and Marc Sikkink. The two plan to remodel the homes and sell or rent them out as residential property (with the possibility of business property).

The actual approval of the purchase agreement will come at the June 18 council meeting.


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