City of Merrill July 13 Common Council meeting
City Administrator, City of Merrill
Below you will find a summary of the major issues and actions from the July 13, 2021, Common Council Meeting.
The Merrill Common Council met on July 13 in the Council Chamber in City Hall.
During the meeting, Mark Rein, owner of the Lofts of City Hall Apartments in the historic former City Hall, gave a Powerpoint presentation to show what has been done thus far to renovate the building and what is planned for the future. More than 120 windows will be replaced, exterior doors replaced, apartments renovated, common areas renovated, and tuckpointing will be performed. Mark’s vision for this iconic historic Merrill property will ensure the building is preserved for future generations. The Council approved a $200,000 low-interest economic development loan for the project. The loan is secured by a second mortgage that cannot be subordinated and personal guarantees.
The Council approved an expenditure of $12,417 to add APR valves to the “A” coils at the Fire Station to address humidity issues.
Approval was given for a grant of $8,000 to the Merrill Community Theater for the purchase of a portable stage from American Rescue Plan Act funds. The stage will be available for use by other Merrill area organizations and will become the property of the City should the Community Theater cease to exist. Additional grant requests will be addressed in future meetings.
The Council approved an incentive program for new home builders. Anyone building a new home within a Tax Increment District (TID), or within a half mile of a TID can receive up to a $10,000 incentive when the home is completed. In addition, the same incentive was approved for areas not in a TID, or within a half mile, to be paid from the General Fund beginning in 2022. The non-TID area funds will be limited to a yet to be determined number of homes per year.
A budget request for $200,000 was approved for Webster Street infrastructure extension between Alexander and Eugene Streets to facilitate the construction of 36 new apartment units north of the extended Webster Street and to facilitate development on the remainder of the extended Webster Street.
A re-zoning ordinance was passed to change a six-acre parcel west of Eugene Street from Rural Development to R4 to facilitate construction of the aforementioned 36 apartment units. A resolution was passed approving a Planned Unit Development (PUD) on this six-acre parcel. The Council also passed a resolution to move forward with a Development Agreement between Premier Lumber Company and the City for the building of 36 apartment units.
The Council approved the re-zoning of 100 N. Polk St. from Public to Business. This is the former church next to the Library.
A resolution supporting a grant application for Weinbrenner Shoe Company for a $250,000 Idle Sites Grant through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation was approved by the Council. The WEDC requires the City to be the grant applicant with the funds going to Weinbrenner if awarded. Weinbrenner purchased most of the former Hurd property on South Prospect Street from the Merrill Area Development Corporation to allow for the expansion of production. This a win-win for everyone involved, Weinbrenner expands, more jobs are created, two formerly vacant deteriorating buildings are utilized and renovated, and the City’s tax base is increased. The City Administrator has been working with Weinbrenner to complete the WEDC grant application.