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Wadena releases annual planning, zoning report

In 2013, the city of Wadena issued 76 permits for new construction and renovations, yielding about $8,000 in fees for a total of nearly $17.5 million worth of projects.

Last month, the planning and zoning department released its annual report, which includes details about the projects and compares activity with the previous two years.

The Maslowski Wellness and Research Center dominates last year's total, accounting for $12.4 million. The number also includes Tri-County Health Care's clinic $1.5 million remodeling and expansion project, along with a new maintenance garage and greenhouse for Wadena-Deer Creek schools. Elsewhere in commercial and industrial construction, Kern Technologies built a $470,000 manufacturing building and Leaf River Ag erected a $130,000 storage building, while James Merickel secured a permit for a $150,000 office suite.

In addition to new construction, the city issued permits for a smattering of commercial and industrial renovations. The thirteen projects - interior remodeling at The BBQ Smokehouse, an addition at Jennie-O, etc. - cost a total of nearly $1.2 million.

Three new single family homes were built in Wadena last year, compared to two each in the previous two years.

That the three new homes are worth more than $1 million combined highlights a trend of baby boomers building dream homes as they approach retirement, said Dean Uselman, Wadena planning and zoning director.

"The homes that we are seeing built are more of the high-end houses," he said.

The 2010 tornado, Uselman said, had an undeniable impact on the planning and zoning department. "It had a significant effect on the types and the amounts of permits we've been issuing ever since."

Interest is particularly high for permits to build fences, he said. Last year, Wadena sold 17 permits for fence construction, mirroring similar activity in the previous two years. The city also issued permits for five storage sheds and 11 residential garages - worth a total of $222,500.

So far in 2014, Uselman said, permit sales have been strong. "I've had a lot of interest in construction of all types."