Chalmers Marketing Discussed
At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Rugby Job Development Authority Board discussed options to better market lots in Chalmers’ First Addition.
JDA Executive Director Joseph Pelt said that at a recent economic development roundtable event in Minot, concerns had been issued about a negative perception of the Chalmers’ Addition in and outside of the Rugby area.
Pelt said he wanted to create options to help market lots, including allowing for development of commercial property, forming a real estate investment trust and coming up with price structures.
Board member Nathan Kunde asked if the board was looking to eat some costs. Kunde said Chalmers was the only development project with a “community feel” to it, but he said lots with several hundred thousand dollars worth of special assessments on them are “not gonna fly.”
“The price kills the lot,” Kunde said.
Rugby mayor Arland Geiszler said that one of the goals of the community was to develop jobs along with housing, and asked how much cost was the JDA willing to take.
Kunde asked if the board asked a developer to buy Chalmer’s Addition outright. Board member Kipp Johnson said the board had, but at the time there were numerous construction projects in the western part of the state.
City Auditor Elizabeth Heisey said that if the JDA does nothing, it would be taking a “haircut” on special assessments anyway.
Pelt informed the board that the Pizza Hut building has been sold, and a tenant may be coming in by April 15.
The board met with Heart of America CEO Patrick Branco, who discussed ideas for recruiting more doctors into the area.
Pelt informed the board that the Souris Basin Planning Council is looking forward to working with the JDA on low income housing rehabilitation projects in Pierce County. Funded by a USDA grant, the project would allow low income homeowners, not renters, to apply for rehabilitation projects to keep or restore their homes to livable condition or better.
Pelt informed the board that preparing survey questions for the natural gas feasibility study could start as early as next week. The JDA agreed at its February meeting to fund $10,000 of the $25,000 feasibility, with the city of Rugby contributing $10,000 and Pierce County contributing $5,000. The study would look into whether natural gas could be brought into the city and surrounding area for commercial, residential and agricultural use.
The board approved the February meeting minutes and financials as well as the treasurer’s report.
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