Rogers looks to revive summer programs

by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter

Contributing Writer

The Rogers City Council is looking to bring back events in local parks this summer after most were cut due to a budget shortfall in 2007. The council also took a firm stand on minimum lot size in the city and were in favor of a proposed I-94 interchange at Brockton Lane.

 

Summer Park 

Entertainment

Mike Bauer, Rogers Recreation and Facilities Manager, approached the Council with the idea of a sponsorship agreement with Pernsteiner Creative Group, who would handle the solicitation of funds to bring events to local parks this summer. As part of the agreement, 70% of the funds raised would fund events and the remaining 30% would be the company’s fee for their efforts. The agreement is similar to how the Rogers Activity Center earns advertising revenue in the ice arena.

Several council members expressed doubts about the proposed arrangement with Pernsteiner. Mayor Jay Bunting and council member Don Hall, who both own area businesses, said they are routinely asked to donate to charities and events.

“As a business owner and someone who donates a great deal of money to charitable things, to see 30% go to this entity. When I donate to other things, I know 100% of what I give goes to a local family, Rocking Rogers, churches,” Bunting said.

The council agreed that now that the city is on more sound financial footing, they hoped there was a way to find the money needed in the city’s general fund.

“It comes back to quality of life, what we want to provide for our residents,” said council member Darren Jakel.

According to Bauer, some popular programs from the past that the city is looking at bringing back are music, the Minnesota Zoomobile, puppet shows, comedy, and Homeward Bound Theatre. They are also looking at continuing the very popular Movies in the Park event, which has been kept alive in recent years by the Rogers Lions Club. City staff is looking at finding funding in the current budget to make some of these things happen this summer.

 

Brockton Lane 

Interchange

In further matters, in 2005 there were plans to construct 1.8 million square feet of commercial and office space on 600 acres off of Brockton Lane, pending an interchange being built at I-94. But as the economy slowed, the project fell apart and the land eventually came under the ownership of the lending company.

Today, the land is owned by Varde Partners, who are ready to move forward with a scaled-back version of the original plan. They have even pledged over $2 million towards the $18 million interchange.

Plans for the interchange are still in the beginning stages and government funding sources are still being sought. The city of Dayton is leading the initiative to get the project funded, as the interchange will lie within its borders and provide the city’s only connection to I-94.

But the interchange would be right on the edge of Rogers’ southwest border and much of the development and resulting tax revenue will occur in the city. Varde Partners plans to develop 316 acres just west of Brockton Lane. All of the land lies in a rural, undeveloped portion of the city of Rogers.

The City of Dayton sought a motion from the Rogers City Council, expressing its support for the project, and a financial contribution. Though the council tabled the resolution of support, it plans to sign it at the next council meeting after some minor details have been tweaked.

“I think this project is a nice one to have done. We’ll enjoy it once it gets here, but it’ll be a challenge to get it here,” Jakel said.

 

Fletcher Hills Villas

In other news, in 2009, a Planned Unit Development of “detached townhomes,” known as Fletcher Hills Villas, was approved by the city. The original plan was for 33 single family homes to occupy base unit lots, surrounded by common property owned by an association made up of the homeowners. The development was planned along Malisa Court and Madison Circle, both of which extend from George Weber Drive to the south. Two homes were eventually built but the rest of the lots have remained vacant.

The developer, the Gonyea Company, approached the council with a plan to eliminate the “detached townhome” concept, owners’ association, and common spaces and, instead, build 33 single family homes on the previously-defined lots.

The council was concerned because the previously-approved lots were much smaller than normal single family lots, as defined by city ordinances.

Mayor Bunting recalled that the council had approved the plans originally because, in part, the housing market was significantly stalled at the time and they were willing to go to greater lengths to see development happening.

“In the last month I’ve spoken with roughly 25 to 30 people, residents of the city, former council members, and every person has said, ‘We do not want to see our lots get that small. We moved to Rogers because we like large lots. Please don’t change that,’ ” he said.

The council urged the company to reconsider their original concept.

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