•Glenwood City tables request to pay for sidewalk at Central Square

By Tim Douglass


Glenwood City Commissioners denied a request from Central Square Arts and Cultural Center asking the city to waive all building permit fees for upcoming improvement projects planned for the historic facility.

City commissioners were concerned about the precedent they would set and how it would affect other projects within the city if building fees were waived.  City Administrator Dave Iverson pointed out that there are state fees and the city could only waive its portion of the building fees, which he said amount to about 25 percent of the fees charged.  In the first request before the city, the amount to be waived would have amounted to about $587.  

“It’s not a huge amount now, but with future improvements it will add up,” Iverson stated.

Commissioner Mavis Pattee said the city “certainly applauds Central Square,” calling it a community asset, especially if it is improved.

“My concern is other non-profits and others in the community who do projects and how we could justify this, without even talking about previous projects (who have paid the fees),” Pattee explained.  She also said if the city was going to waive the fees, she would only consider waiving the city’s portion of those fees.

Commissioner Brent Cochran agreed.  He said the $500 sounds like a drop in a big sea, “but I agree with Mavis that we can’t consider waiving the whole fee.”  He also stated that he had concerns with setting precedent for previous and future projects. 

Cochran noted that waiving fees like this would affect the city’s budget and should have been something “discussed much further ahead in this process.”

In the spring, after the Minnesota Legislative session, Central Square was awarded a $4 million state grant to improve and update the current facility, located east of Franklin Street in downtown Glenwood.  

In a memorandum to the city, Larry Zavadil, a member of the Central Square Board and Central Square property and executive committee, made the request to waive the fees.  “For the good of the project and community, the board has requested that the city help (donate) as a partner to the project,” Zavadil stated.  The memorandum stated that Scott Kluver of Innovative Companies, Inc. would follow the city permit process by individual project area, “but asked that the city issues the permit without a fee cost.”

The request to waive all city building permit fees was denied on a 3-0 vote, with Commissioner Neil Haynes abstaining because he is also a member of the Central Square Board of Directors. Commissioner Todd Gylsen was not at Tuesday’s commissioner meeting.

In a related matter, the Central Square board also asked the city to pay the costs for sidewalk improvements in the two block area along the south side of the facility from Franklin Street to Second Street.  That area is near a retaining wall that was replaced by Central Square this summer and the sidewalk work is planned for the spring, according to Kluver.

Because the work isn’t planned until spring, the commission tabled the request to pay for the costs of the sidewalk.  The city will consider it earlier in the next year, it was decided.  At that time the city could consider paying “a portion” or all of the costs, it was decided.  Iverson said that delaying the decision would allow the city to look at adding the projects to other planned street improvements that could save the city money.  

Haynes, who also abstained from voting to table the issue, pointed out that the city could look at the option of paying a percentage of the cost.  Pattee agreed, adding that the sidewalk improvement was a public benefit.  

In other business the city:

•Approved September expenditures of $141,029.94.

•Approved $78,340 for the 2022 Beacon replacement at the Glenwood Municipal Airport.

•Called for a public hearing on a proposed Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District for a development within the city.  The hearing will provide information about the development and the details of the TIF plan.