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DL may buy former truck stop on Hwy 10

The city of Detroit Lakes is looking into purchasing the property along Highway 10 that used to house Grover's Truck Stop.

City officials met with landowners American National Bank Thursday to discuss the deal.

Mayor Larry Buboltz said the purchase is part of the long-term planning for the city.

"The reason I asked for this meeting," Buboltz said, "in 10 years, before a building is built or the land is sold, we should perhaps acquire that land now."

The Minnesota Department of Transportation has suggested two stoplights along Highway 10, west of town -- one at Airport Road and one at the east entrance to Grover's. A frontage road will be constructed along the stretch of Highway 10, and left hand turns onto Highway 10 will be limited.

Some of these improvements could be five to 10 years down the road.

Buboltz said that, although a second municipal liquor store location has been suggested along Highway 10, this property isn't necessarily for that. He said that shouldn't be taken into account when deciding whether to purchase the land or not.

He added that financially, it's better to purchase the land now rather than in 10 years.

Some issues were raised about what lies beneath the top layer of dirt in that area.

"What concerns me is what's under the land," City Administrator Rich Grabow said.

With American National Bank owning the property, Robert Sefkow, chief operating manager from the corporate office, said, "At some point, the property will be for sale."

The bank is reserving some of the property on the west side for its new building, he added.

Alderman Ron Zeman brought up the point that, although the property supposedly isn't for the liquor store, Liquor Store Manager Brad MacMaster was at the meeting Thursday.

Grabow said the council instructed the city to look for land for a possible liquor store west of town. The purchase is a good idea, regardless of what it is used for. It doesn't necessarily have a connection with the liquor store, he said.

Alderman Leonard Heltemes said he still has mixed feelings on the issue of a liquor store, so he suggested the city purchase only land for the frontage road and a stacking intersection for when, or if, the stoplight is installed.

Sefkow said he has no idea about the resale cost of the land as of now, because he doesn't know what it's going to cost the bank yet.

Buboltz said the city should have all the land and cost options available before making any decisions, which seemed to be the general consensus of the group.

Alderman Bruce Imholte pointed out that even if the land was never used for a liquor store, the city could always resell the land because it's not going to go down in value.

Corporate bank CEO Tom Johnson also suggested the city look at the option of leasing the area from the bank. He said the bank has done several leases with municipalities.

"We should dance. It doesn't mean we're going to get married," he said, "but we should dance."