Two commercial lots donated to the city

by Joni Astrup

Associate Editor

Two commercial lots along Highway 10 have been donated to the city of Elk River.

The lots are located near Joplin Street, just west of Westbound Liquor. The two 1.5-acre parcels have a total taxable market value of $261,400.

Tom Hartman offered to give the lots to the city in exchange for the city paying the outstanding property taxes, which total $79,388.

The Elk River Economic Development Authority voted to accept the donation of the land during a special meeting Monday.

One caveat stems from an old farmhouse that once stood on the property. The house was burned in a fire department training exercise at one point, and some of the rubble was pushed into the old foundation, according to Jeremy Barnhart, the city’s deputy director of community operations and development.

An environmental consultant noted there could potentially be chemicals or asbestos associated with that old building, Barnhart said. The consultant’s final report was expected to be available late this week. Barnhart said in the unlikely event the cost of mediation would exceed the $260,000 value of the land, the city probably wouldn’t accept the property.

Assuming the city accepts the property, Barnhart said they would begin marketing it immediately. The lots could be sold separately or together, he said.

“The EDA could expect to hold the property for some time, as the commercial climate in this area is less robust than in other areas,” he wrote in a memo to the EDA.