Crookston council wants more info on tax abatement request, and CHEDA involved

Crookston City Council members want a lot more information on a business proposal at the former J.R. Simplot property on the south end, and also want CHEDA to be involved.

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

   The Crookston City Council wants a lot more information, and they also want CHEDA to be involved, before any decisions are made in response to a request from someone who says he wants to put a business at the former J.R. Simplot potato warehouse building at 2100 South Main in Crookston.

    Interim City Administrator Angel Weasner told the council’s Ways & Means Committee this week that she was approached by the businessperson with a request for a five-year tax abatement for the proposed venture. She said she brought up some other options and also directed the person to speak to CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth. (Hoiseth, in turn, reported at this week’s council meeting that he had heard nothing about the proposal until seeing it on this week’s Ways & Means Committee meeting agenda.)

    Weasner said the person’s proposal involves converting the unused property into a business that would add six to eight new jobs, and, according to the person, would benefit American Crystal Sugar and the “local environment” in general.

    Weasner said she reached out to Polk County officials, who subsequently told her the business would potentially increase the valuation of the south-end property by $60,000.

    The council committee swiftly tabled the matter, pending a need for a lot more information.

    “We don’t have any information at all,” At Large Council Member Bobby Baird said. “I would like to see drawings, everything they’re going to do and who it’s going to affect.”

    Weasner said she could understand the hesitation, and added that she was approached by the individual only last week.

    Ward 2 Council Member Steve Erickson noted that a five-year tax abatement is a “big commitment.” And At Large Council Member Tom Vedbraaten stressed the need for CHEDA to be in the loop.

    “If he’s serious, he should involve CHEDA as well as the City,” Vedbraaten said.