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City redevelopment plan is taking shape

All the time, money and energy spent on the redevelopment plan for Detroit Lakes' highway corridor and downtown is not going to waste, according to city officials.

Since accepting the redevelopment plan in December of 2008, the city has:

- acquired property between the Washington Square Mall and the Detroit Lakes Community and Cultural Center for future parking;

- received proposals on what to do with the Wimmer-owned property along South Washington Avenue. A business on the bottom portion and condos on the second story are looking favorable;

- advertised for a request of proposals to redevelop the crescent area;

- purchased Lakes Laundry;

- seen the railroad depot almost completed;

- discussed redevelopment and improvement of North Washington Avenue with Becker County;

- completed the realignment of Langford Street;

- agreed on a tax increment financing plan for a North Washington Avenue building project.

"A lot of stuff has happened in a short period of time," Community Development Director Larry Remmen said.

He added that it's good to see the plan isn't just "gathering dust."

One of the items on the list, the Wimmer property, was up for discussion at the Community Development Committee meeting Thursday afternoon.

Alderman Leonard Heltemes said the rundown motel has been an eyesore for quite some time and suggested writing a letter to the owners about the nuisance ordinance and what needs to be done to make the property look nicer.

City Administrator Bob Louiseau said with proposals coming in, the Wimmers need to decide on what development to go with rather than putting money into something that will likely be torn down.

He added that he would report back to the April meeting with an update on what the Wimmers are planning on doing with the property.

Alderman Bruce Imholte said he was not in favor of sending a letter about a nuisance to the Wimmers and "nit-picking," since they just purchased the property and nothing had been done the last three to four years to the previous owners.

Louiseau added that at this time of year, the owners would be limited in what they could do to clean up the area.

Alderman Ron Zeman said he's aware of that but said he doesn't want the property to go another year looking like it does now.