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DLDA hoping for bigger year

Now that the economy seems to be slowly crawling toward better growth, the Detroit Lakes Development Authority is hopeful that business is on the upswing in Detroit Lakes.

"Activity has been a little lighter than in the past," DLDA member Tom Klyve said of the 2012 annual report.

The DLDA assisted with a few new businesses and existing business expansions last year. They assisted new businesses Northland Portable Welding -- a renovation and expansion of the former Pumps and Pantry property -- and Great Northern Pizza Company.

The DLDA also assisted in the Detroit Mountain Recreational Area feasibility study and the Downtown Crossing redevelopment.

There have been discussions on other upcoming projects -- like a possible spec building and the two-acre tract of land behind Downtown Crossing -- but there were just those few loans and tax increment financing deals for 2012.

Since 1985, when the DLDA started, the authority has helped with business expansions and new businesses with loans and other incentives. Those businesses have helped create 1,408 jobs in the last 20 years.

Community Development Director Larry Remmen said a couple of the goals for this year will include workforce development and the redevelopment of the two-acre land on Holmes Street. Housing is also an issue that will be studied.

The DLDA is considering partnering with the Becker County HRA to conduct a housing study of Detroit Lakes and the surrounding area.

Remmen said the study would give the city a better idea of the population not being served, the types of housing that is needed, rental units needed and any other specific items DLDA members would like to know.

Newest DLDA member Phil Hansen said that the study should provide information on where the best locations are for the suggested housing needs as well.

Remmen said having R-3 zoned land -- suitable for multiple family units like apartments -- has always been a struggle to find. That may be something the city should look into, he said.

The DLDA held off on committing to the housing study, pending more information. The next DLDA meeting is Feb. 26.

Follow Pippi Mayfield on Twitter at @PippiMayfield.