Apartment Rehab Nearing Reality
Rehabilitation of the Leewood Apartments located on the southwest side of Britton is nearing reality after action by the Britton City Council at its regular meeting on Monday.
The council unanimously gave its approval to purchase the apartments for $70,000 cash plus estimated property taxes of $9,000 from Relibank of Watertown. Plans call for the city to gift the property to the Britton Economic Development Corporation, which in turn will give it to SLH Holdings of Brookings.
Rationale for the decision by the council centered around economic development for the city. The council believes that its investment in purchasing the building will be reimbursed by increased property taxes. In addition, it will provide living space for the city’s work force, and that work force spends money in the community.
Reliabank had purchased the property at public auction in September for about $153,000, which included back taxes.
SLH, which has done similar projects around the state, has funding in place and plans on spending about $1.3 million to completely gut the inside of the structure down to the studs and put in new electrical, plumbing, and fixtures. Part of the plan includes involving local contractors to do much of the work.
Remodeling plans call for reducing the number of apartments in the building from 18 to 16 to allow two apartments with three bedrooms to accommodate larger families. SLH hopes to begin work as soon as possible and plans to own and operate the apartment complex.
“We definitely feel this represents economic development for the City of Britton,” said SLH representative Bobbie Bohlen at a meeting this fall. “We want to own property here and be a business partner here. In this point in history we’re not a flyover state anymore, and we feel an opportunity exists to put a stake in the ground and build a place for young people to come back to.”
The building, previously owned by Bob Marx, has not been occupied in nearly two decades.
In other action the board set a second December meeting for Monday, Dec. 28, to finish up the year’s business, act on the second reading of a supplemental budget ordinance, and approve policies and wages for 2021.
Railroad property plats were approved. The state is offering the property for sale and the city has indicated an intention to purchase it.
The council discussed water and sewer rates. A storm sewer project set for next summer will likely add a $5 monthly surcharge to water and sewer bills.
A brief discussion was held on the passage of Amendment A in November that will allow recreational use of marijuana. The city has the power to decide if it will allow the sale of marijuana in the city and how many licenses it will issue. If there is no licensee in the city, the law allows residents to grow their own plants. Implementation of the new law is still in question pending the result of a lawsuit.
A decision was made to ask for quotes for a fire alarm system at the library. Currently the structure has no system in place.
The board was informed that a camera system has been installed at the Britton Area Event Center. No action was taken on a Stalker Radar system designed to take temperatures of people using the building in light of COVID-19 concerns.
Propane bids were opened from Agtegra ($1.05) and Full Circle Ag (99.9 cents) with the bid awarded to Full Circle Ag of Britton. Old irrigation pipe at the baseball/softball complex was also declared surplus, and the board approved a $200 Christmas bonus for all full-time city employees.
Public Works Supervisor George Flanery told the board that the mixer for the aboveground storage tank would need to be replaced. He also noted that three new scoreboards had been put up at the baseball/softball complex, an exercise unit at Centennial Park has been installed, an additional 40 trees have been taken down on city property in light of the Emerald Ash Borer threat, and that a work order is in place to do work on straightening headstones at the Britton Cemetery this summer. He is in the process of hiring temporary workers to be available for snow removal this winter in case city workers are affected by COVID-19.