‘I-94 project will greatly improve region’s traffic’
Rep. David FitzSimmons (R-Albertville) updated the St. Michael City Council about how the recently approved funding for I-94 expansion will improve regional traffic.
The council also took action regarding a new industrial development, and discussed a proposal to give loans to retailers looking to improve their facilities.
Rep. FitzSimmons noted that expanding I-94 from Rogers to St. Michael was included in the state’s top 10 Corridors of Commerce projects.
He said this is great news for the area and that traffic models show the results are impressive and would greatly improve traffic in the area.
The legislator commended regional support for helping make the project approval happen, such as from the I-94 Coalition gathering support from businesses and elected officials. The council in turn thanked FitzSimmons for his leadership.
There was discussion about future expansions west of St. Michael. FitzSimmons said there are several other northwest metro projects, such as I-494 and Hwy. 610, that are scheduled for completion in the next several years. Once those projects are approved, FitzSimmons said that would likely be the time for further expansion.
In other news, community development director Marc Weigle noted the city’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) approved moving forward with surveying and preliminary engineering plans for the Spaeth Industrial Development, anticipating $3,500 would be reimbursed from Municipal State Aid funds when Melby Avenue is built. The remaining $9,400 would be reimbursed to the EDA by the developer once the property is developed.
Weigle said part of the agreement is that a 70-foot easement along the east side of the development would be agreed upon for future construction of Melby Avenue.
The council unanimously approved the proposal for Quality Site Design for surveying and preliminary engineering plans for Spaeth Industrial Development at a cost of $12,900.
In further matters, community development director Weigle said the EDA discussed options for a program that would support and encourage retail businesses downtown to make improvements by discounting the interest cost of a loan for the improvements.
Weigle noted that several other area cities have such programs.
Councilor Kevin Kasel said he does not think the city should be involved with improvement of retail businesses, noting that a $3,000 savings on interest would not sway the decision for improvement. Councilor Nadine Schoen said that would be true of larger retail businesses, but for smaller ones it makes a difference and shows the city is supportive of its small businesses.
Councilor Joe Marx was skeptical and wondered if there are businesses that would take advantage of such a program or not.
Weigle said he would discuss the program with Shop Saint Michael members and bring back more specific examples of how it would work.
In other action, the council:
CONGRATULATED community development director Weigle with a certification for passing the American Institute of Certified Planners exam, the highest certification for a planner.
REACHED consensus that the proposed fix of council chamber/senior center chairs by the Krug company is acceptable so long as Krug was willing to fully replace the chairs if the fix does not resolve the issues.
Contact Aaron Brom at [email protected]