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Baxter City Council: New amended development agreement with Arbor Glen

BAXTER--Arbor Glen is getting a boost from the city of Baxter after the council voted Tuesday, April 16, to amend a development agreement with proprietors of the affordable housing complex.

Construction crews remove trees along Excelsior Road and Conservation Drive as the area was clear-cut to make way for construction of Northern Lakes Senior Living assisted living and memory care units by Arbor Glen and Autumn Glenn senior housing in Baxter. Kelly Humphrey/Brainerd Dispatch
Since its inception in 2001, Arbor Glen (background) has provided affordable apartment units for low-income senior residents of Baxter. The Baxter City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, April 16, to allow Arbor Glen to expand its affordable housing apartments and install a walking trail. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch file photo

BAXTER-Arbor Glen is getting a boost from the city of Baxter after the council voted Tuesday, April 16, to amend a development agreement with proprietors of the affordable housing complex.

Developers at Arbor Glen-a retirement housing complex in the city's tax increment financing district-were looking to amend an agreement with the city to expand reduced-rate housing units and construct a trail connection between the Paul Bunyan State Trail and a fire lane at Arbor Glen. The agreement is intended to continue subsidies provided by the city to fund affordable housing for low-income senior residents.

From its genesis in 2001, Arbor Glen has served as an apartment complex of senior rental housing on Broadmoor Drive, just north of Excelsior Road. In exchange for receiving tax increment financing, or TIF designation, Arbor Glen offers 20% (13) of its apartments for low-income tenants. As of last August, the parameters of the original TIF designation were satisfied. The initial budget set in 2001 was about $1.1 million.

Tax increment financing is an economic development tool used to help businesses offset the costs of redeveloping a site. Instead of paying higher taxes immediately upon completion of a new building, a business instead will use those tax savings to cover the costs of demolition and new construction. Often, these agreements come tied with stipulations, such as a requirement to offer affordable housing.

Finance Director Jeremy Vacinek said there were tenant requests to extend the affordable housing at Arbor Glen. He noted the proposed agreement would include an additional $320,000 of TIF assistance-a number based, city documents state, on evaluations of the housing unit subsidies, as well as the cost of the trail to be funded solely by Arbor Glen.

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Council member Todd Holman noted the trail connection-while seemingly a small component of the larger TIF discussion-represents a significant boon for the Arbor Glen community and residents who face difficulties in terms of mobility.

"This trail connection is really significant in terms of providing connectivity between the residential community and the lane to the west, the grocery store," Holman said. "In my opinion, it's really a triumph in our city's obligation to meet ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards."

The council unanimously voted to approve the new development agreement with Arbor Glen.

In other business, the council:

Approved the appointment of a seasonal public works maintenance positions for Brett Hague and Carter Sobania for summer 2019. These positions are paid $11 to $12 per hour depending prior experience being employed by the city.

Approved the appointment of a seasonal park attendant position for Aaron Stark and Dalton Jobe for summer 2019. These positions are paid $11 to $12 per hour depending prior experience being employed by the city.

Accepted a $400 donation from the Baxter Lions club for the 2019 Triathlon event.

Approved the 2018 public transit service payment to the city of Brainerd for Baxter's service.

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Appointed Trevor Thompson to the assistant city engineer position.

Approved the BNSF invoice for railroad signal equipment in the amount of $69,379.28 for the Cypress Drive improvements project.

Approved an agreement for Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. for the right of way ordinance and permit application not to exceed the amount of $6,900.

Approved a stormwater facilities maintenance agreement with Retail Partners Baxter II LLC for the new Gander Outdoors of Baxter at 14275 Edgewood Drive.

Approved the Widseth Smith Nolting amendment for engineering services in the 2019 Mapleton Road and Jasperwood Drive area improvements to not exceed $53,700.

Approved a quote for Quality Flow Systems Inc. in the amount of $52,240 for the lift station No. 11 reconstruction project.

Approved the lift station No. 11 reconstruction plans and authorized staff to bid for the project.

Approved a partial pay estimate for the water plant filter 2 and 4 media replacement project in the amount of $161,500.

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Approved plans and specifications for a mezzanine for the public works facility and authorized staff to bid for the project.

Awarded the engineering service contract for the 2020 Fairview Road, Golf Course Drive, Excelsior Road and Trail Connections Improvements project to Widseth Smith Nolting, not to exceed $215,215.

Adopted a resolution ordering plans for the 2019 Mapleton Road, Jasperwood Drive and Knollwood Drive area improvements project.

Authorized a contract with Widseth Smith Nolting for land surveying services related to the Navillus Land Co. real estate acquisitions.

Convened a closed session to consider and review the petition waiver agreement and developers agreement between the city of Baxter and the Brainerd School District for the 40.7 acres at 12191 Jasperwood Drive-the site of the new Baxter Elementary School to be constructed. Upon review, the council gave their final approval. Earlier in the session, the council approved architectural plans for the new school.

"It's great that it's finally over. A lot of time and a lot of effort for due diligence has been done on both sides," Mayor Darrel Olson said. "I think the end result is going to be great for both the school district and the city of Baxter. We're excited."

Related Topics: BAXTERHOUSINGPAUL BUNYAN STATE TRAIL
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