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Brew approved: Conditional-use permit approved for Drastic Measures Brewing

The former Coast-to-Coast building is set to be the new foundation for Drastic Measures Brewing opening this fall. Michael Johnson/Pioneer Journal

Drastic Measures Brewing has been approved to brew in Wadena's downtown business district.

The Wadena City Council approved a conditional-use permit for the business following a recommendation to approve by the Wadena Planning Commission during a special meeting Tuesday night.

All council members were in favor of the permit, which allows Drastic Measures Brewing owner Brett Doebbeling, to construct a microbrewery and taproom in the Wadena central business zoning district. The permit lists two conditions, which state that the business must (1) hold all refuse and byproduct in rodent proof containers out of sight and be removed at least weekly, and (2) that the business meets all statutory and city code requirements.

The only comment from city council members came from councilwoman Deb Wiese, who questioned if the conditions were fair considering the same conditions are not placed on other businesses in the central building zoning district.

Wadena Development Authority executive director Dean Uselman said Doebbeling did not speak of any concerns over the conditions and he felt there would be no problems enforcing the conditions.

Doebbeling, is planning to construct the microbrewery in the former Coast-to-Coast hardware store at the corner of Aldrich Ave. and Jefferson Street South. He plans to totally remodel the interior of the building and have the business open in the fall. The basement will house the brewery's 10-barrel system and a 16-ounce canning line, as Doebbeling explained they plan to cut part of the main floor out to expose the brewery in the basement.

Loan fund changes

In other news the council approved moving 50 percent of their Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) Loan funds into an exemption fund.

The one-time exception allows a home rule charter or statutory city, county, or town that has uncommitted money in their revolving loan fund to use 80 percent of the balance as a general purpose aid for any lawful expenditure. In order to be eligible for the exception, the city, county or town would need to return 20 percent of the uncommitted balance to the State's general fund prior to June 30, 2018.

"My main reason for supporting to put some of the money in there is because it would remove the strings and if the development authority had a project that they needed the money for, it would be theirs to use however they needed,' Mayor George Deiss said.

By taking 50 percent, the city will now have about $66,000 they can use in a less restrictive revolving loan fund to loan out to businesses. It would be managed by the Wadena Development Authority. Some of the restrictions they might otherwise have to deal with have included businesses must have a certain level of employee pay, only for manufacturing businesses or only businesses within the city limits.

The MIF loan program provides financing to create and retain high-quality jobs. MIF funds are disbursed to local governments and then provided as a loan to the business. The loans are attractive to businesses because they are offered up front and can be used to offset capital expenditures—often equipment purchases.

As was explained to the city council, the Wadena Development Authority Board did not recommend moving the funds because, at the time, they were under the impression that all or no funds had to be moved, Dean Uselman said. That could have resulted in a loss of $33,000 that the city could have borrowed out. He said if they knew then what he knows now, that their decision might have been different.

Next meeting

The city council meets once again at noon June 1 for a special meeting to make a decision on the sale of the former Lorentz house and property that the city owns, which they listed for sale.