Set aside money may help RTC [UPDATED]Published 4:41am Monday, July 8, 2013 Updated 6:43am Monday, July 8, 2013
About $4 million still remains from the original $7.1 million of state bonding money set aside for infrastructure and demolition at the Regional Treatment Center. That money is planned to be used for various utility projects, in preparation for the development of the site.
“It has to be used for a public purpose,” said Mark Sievert, Fergus Falls city administrator.
The city is in a letter of intent phase with Historic Kirkbride, the entity that wants to redevelop the RTC with a hotel, apartments and restaurants.
“We’re working on this letter of intent,” Sievert said. “I’m still anticipating that we’ll be able to at least discuss that at the meeting on the 15th (of July).”
The demolition deadline was extended during the last Legislative session. That makes the deadline to request reimbursement for the remaining demolition money is not until December 2016 instead of December 2014.
Originally with the state bonding dollars, it could be used for public infrastructure and some demolition. But with the deadline extension from the Legislature in May, some of the language changed and money may be used to stabilize and prepare the site for development, according to Sievert.
A few public infrastructure items need to be taken care of in order to accommodate the development. They include water utility, sewer utility, street and water improvements, and also demolishing the newer administration building, which is part of the Historic Kirkbride plan.
That’s something the city can use the money for prior to Historic Kirkbride taking ownership.
However, the city wouldn’t start on any of these utility projects until a development agreement is reached with Historic Kirkbride, which is scheduled to be done this fall.
“We don’t want to start working on any utility components … if he isn’t 100 percent ready to go,” Sievert said. “We don’t want to expend money too early.”
It’s also still too early in the process to talk about the risks involved if the Historic Kirkbride plan were to fall through at some point, Sievert said.
“I feel pretty comfortable and pretty optimistic with Ray and his group,” Sievert said. “But it’s still a big, complex project.”
There’s always a possibility that the project wouldn’t come together, “and then we have to go to the next step,” Sievert said. If that happens, the council goes back to the drawing board to go over different options, like another developer or demolition.
The extension also pads in some time. If a developer wouldn’t be in the mix down the line, the council probably wouldn’t need to look to demolition until early 2015, according to Sievert.
“At this point, we’re moving ahead with Ray (Willey),” Sievert said.Tags: Regional Treatment Center