BY AMANDA SCHWARZE
Maple Plain officials are considering taking a fresh look at what is wanted and what is possible in the city’s redevelopment areas.
Maple Plain City Administrator Jason Ziemer said that city officials have talked about hiring a firm to conduct a market study on what would work best in the redevelopment districts. A decision on whether to commission a study has not yet been made. Ziemer said that there is no rush to do a study right now and that the issue might come up again in the spring.
About six years ago, Maple Plain officials hired a company to conduct a similar study. Ziemer said that a new study could be beneficial because much has changed in the economy since the first one was completed.
“The economy is different and the market has changed,” Ziemer said. A new study, he said, would let city officials see “what opportunities are out there.”
Ziemer used the Gateway district, which is near Highway 12 on the east side of town, as an example. The first study found that housing like town homes could work well in that area. An updated study, he said, could determine whether the market now would still allow for that kind of development or if the city’s plans should change.
If city officials decide to move forward with a second study, Ziemer said it would also likely include input from community members about what they would like to see with redevelopment. The council would then know if the market could support what people want in the city.
“It’s a balancing act between the needs, wants and desires and what the market will allow for today,” Ziemer said.
The information could be helpful as downtown redevelopment efforts continue to proceed. Last month, the Metropolitan Council awarded the city $895,766 in grant funds. The money will go toward acquiring the Olson’s Market site, demolishing that building and reconstructing Maple Avenue and a portion of Main Street.
In January, the city council agreed to extend the purchase agreement on the Olson’s Market site. The price quoted in the agreement is $525,000 for the property. In addition to grant funds, the downtown developer will put in $150,000 toward purchasing the site and the city will put in $100,000.
Plans for the downtown redevelopment project call for 20,000 square feet in commercial and office space that would be housed in new buildings on land where Olson’s Market, Maple Plain City Hall and the Maple Plain museum currently stand. All of the properties included in the plans except for the Olson’s Market site are owned by the city.