by Dawn Feddersen-Poindexter
The Rogers City Council agreed to receive funding from Hennepin County to help develop a strategic plan for the city’s downtown area.
“This project has been talked about for I don’t know how many councils before us. I think it’s important to get this started. I look forward to seeing where this goes,” said council member Rick Ihli.
The strategic plan is expected to identify goals and priorities for the downtown area, prioritize sub-areas within downtown for targeted redevelopment efforts, and to create an implementation plan, including analysis of financial feasibility.
Developing the strategic plan is estimated to cost $50,000. The city of Rogers received the maximum amount of grant funding, 75% of the project, or $37,500. The city will pay the remaining $12,500.
City administrator Steve Stahmer said that the ultimate goal is to have a destination-oriented downtown with a walk-able component. He said that the planning process will begin this summer.
In other matters, the council agreed to undertake a $95,000 transportation study that will be funded by an unnamed large company that is considering development in Rogers. The company is specifically looking at a site north of I-94 and west of Brockton Lane.
The city of Dayton has been lobbying for an I-94 interchange at Brockton Lane, which lies on the border of Dayton and Rogers. Several cities, including Rogers, and another developer have pledged their support for the project, which has gained the interest of many looking to capitalize on the largely undeveloped area. The City of Dayton is currently waiting to hear about a Transportation Economic Development, or TED, grant, which they are hoping will pay for a large portion of the $18 million project.
The council was in favor of the traffic study, which city engineer Bret Weiss told them would provide the city with valuable information the city does not have to pay for. But they were also concerned that the unnamed company might assume that their plans would automatically be approved after investing so much money up front.
“If we pass this resolution, they need to understand that there are still significant obstacles to overcome and this in no way binds us to approve their plans,” Mayor Jay Bunting cautioned.
The council also agreed to accept a $3,100 grant from the Hennepin County Youth Sports Program for soccer goals and nets for Lynch and Rogers Elementary fields.