O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Sutherland Council Considers Development Option

 

The Sutherland City Council met in regular session on Monday May 6. The budget amendment Hearing was held with no public comments submitted in writing or in person. The budget amendment passed.

Kiana Johnson, O'Brien County Economic Development Director was present to update the council on the activities of her organization. Following updates to the performance of OCEDC with its Revolving Loan Fund and the jobs that tool has helped create or retain, she announced the OCEDC is celebrating 30 years of service to O'Brien County. It was incorporated in 1989 with its first director in 1999. Today, the organization can boast one of Iowa's largest revolving loan funds in the state with a 99% success rate.

Johnson also offered a partnership with Sutherland that is new to the organization and first offered through the city of Sheldon this year. The OCEDC partnership is a home again scholarship. It reimburses a person $6,000 over 4 years for student loan reduction when they return to the area. She offered the partnership to Sutherland and offered more details if there is interest.

Economic Development reported that the demolition of the "Innes" building was inspected by DNR and reimbursed for expenses. Sharon Flinders, Sutherland Economic Development President said, "As far as I am concerned this project is done." The committee's role in the clearing of the lot was in finding sufficient funds for the demolition and clearing. The committee role is now complete.

Jami Webster, Sutherland Police Chief suggested the council consider an ordinance that addresses curfew for minors. The city park has a 10:00pm curfew. Minors cannot drive after 12:30am. For a minor not in the city park and not driving there is no curfew. Council agreed to consider proposals.

Jim Johnson attended the meeting to discuss his plans to develop the newly cleared lot on the southeast corner of Ash Street and W. Second Street. Johnson has shown interest in building a medical clinic on the property. The DNR grant awarded to the city for the demolition of a dilapidated building the once stood there was awarded in part because the redevelopment of the site to a medical clinic was appealing to DNR, according to Scott Flagg, a DNR representative.

Johnson explained to the council that he has secured a contractor and the plans were complete. All he has left to do is acquire the property. Johnson noted several deficiencies and irregularities with the property for development: insufficient packing, a lost abstract, and a footage discrepancy of the building in property records.

He said that as soon as he was able to get ownership of the building he is ready to start, adding that he understood the council would grant him the property. "I understood that, too," replied Bruce Engelke, council member.

Discussion followed about getting a new abstract to replace the one that burned and conducting required governmental activities prior to the sale of property. There was consensus to get the required items from the city attorney and to set a date to adopt a resolution and a public hearing.

 

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