Wadena City Council members, during their May 12 council meeting, approved a resolution urging Governor Tim Walz to allow business in the city of Wadena to reopen.

The basis for the reopening was spelled out in various bullet points including:

  • The original Stay at Home order effectively slowed the spread of the coronavirus.

  • The extension of the Stay at Home order and Executive Orders are causing hardship and financial loss to our businesses.

  • The closures affect the City, our businesses, residents and ultimately the community’s quality of life.

  • Our businesses have the ability to limit the amount of customers to a responsible, socially distanced level.

  • Our local health care system is prepared and willing to assist our community and businesses in reopening and operating in a safe, responsible manner.

  • We can safely reopen.

Another bullet point expressing the difference between metro areas and small town areas like Wadena was struck from the resolution after a recommendation from council member Mark Lunde.

In other actions, the board approved:

  • A resolution supporting the submission of a joint Sourcewell grant application for the hose tester unit project for Wadena and Todd County Fire departments. The approximate project cost is $10,000.

  • Dana Eberhardt’s massage therapy business license. Eberhardt plans to do business at 314 Jefferson Street South in Wadena.

  • Issuing a new 3.2 beer on-sale and Sunday liquor license to Oma’s Bread LLC.

  • Hiring Sara Stone and Kolby Kiser as golf course attendants at Whitetail Run Golf Course.

  • Hiring Becky Templin as a part-time liquor store clerk at the Wadena Municipal Liquor Store.

  • Authorized installing five signs on the Wadena entrance signs in support of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) Minnesota State President Elliot Doyle.The five signs come to about $150. The request came from WDC FCCLA advisor Cindi Koll. Koll said FCCLA did not have funds for the project. City council member Bruce Uselman brought up that the project should not be paid for using city funds but rather donations, much like the senior banners now installed in downtown Wadena. The project would go forward pending the purchase approval.

  • A resolution updating the Fix-Up Loan policy. The updated policy clarifies that an applicant is ineligible to receive a loan if the owner of the property has received funding under a previous SCDP Grant or Fix-Up Loan Fund within the past 7 years, as opposed to 10 years. The amendment allows a new owner to apply for a loan, even if the property has received funding within the 7 years. The thought behind the amendment is that a new owner may wish to continue the improvements started by the previous owner and the new improvements increase the value of the property.

All board members approved of the resolution except Councilman Mark Lunde abstained from the vote because of future planned use of the loan.

  • Changes to the utility job posting, which creates an 85 cent pay reduction to the foreman; 25 cent reduction to the lead; a 60 cent increase to the energy services position; and 50 cent increase to line worker. These job changes and rates of pay have been approved by the Utility Department Union IBEW Local 31.

Those positions where duties were taken away saw a reduction in pay and those that had additional duties had pay increased. With the changes approved by all council members, the city can now open these positions for hire.

  • Awarding the 2020 Wadena Municipal Airport Crack Seal Project to ASTECH Corporation. Four quotes were received with ASTECH being the low bid. The project cost is $95,510, which includes a $80,210 bid by ASTECH Corp.; $15,800 in design engineering and construction administration by Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.; and a $2,500 cost for administration by the City of Wadena. Previously the city was responsible for 5% of the project cost, however, the recent CAREs Act provides for 100% funding by FAA.

Fix-Up Loans

  • Fix-Up Loan for Nicole Lunde. Lunde has purchased the former Carter Oil property at 211 Ash Ave. NW., which includes an old building on the site. Lunde plans to renovate the property with all new exterior, doors, windows, deck, lighting, electrical, plumbing and HVAC. She has applied for the maximum $15,000 and the entire project is estimated to cost about $28,000. The loan will assist with renovating the exterior of the building. Lunde declared a conflict of interest may exist because her husband Mark Lunde is a council member. Mark Lunde abstained from voting on the motion due to the conflict of interest. All other council members voted in favor except Jessie Gibbs, who was absent. Council members spoke favorably of the planned improvement to the site. Of the loan amount, 20% is deferred and 80% is repayable at 3% interest.
  • A Fix-Up Loan to Hometown Crafts in Wadena for the maximum amount of $15,000. Of that amount, 20% is deferred and 80% is repayable at 3% interest. The roof has been leaking and some product has been lost. Work has already begun to fix the roof. The retail store shared a document that showed roof repair/replacement was estimated at $61,000.
  • A Fix-Ip Loan to Stave LLC for storefront renovations at Little Round Still, in the former JCPenney building. The loan amount is $15,000, 20% is deferred and 80% is repayable at 3% interest. The project cost is estimated at $17,000.