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Lake City approves apartment deal, Ohuta Park pavilion project

New apartment complex will benefit from TIF deal.

Lake City Apartment Complex PUD.png
The map shows the location and layout of a proposed multi-family housing project called Hickory Way at the Jewel. Monday night, the Lake City City Council voted for a new public utilities district that will service the 57-unit apartment.
Contributed / City of Lake City

LAKE CITY — The city council in Lake City approved three proposals Monday night that improve the marina area and add more housing to the city.

On a 5-2 vote, the city council approved the new public utilities district for the 57-unit apartment complex known as Hickory Way at the Jewel.

The multi-family housing project would bring much-needed rental housing to the area, proponents said during discussion among the city council. But opponents asked if the project was putting high-density housing in a neighborhood designed for single-family homes.

In addition to the apartment building, the project would include several town homes.

Council member Cindy McGrath said she ran on the promise of bringing more housing to Lake City, and this project fulfilled that promise. She added that she knows several people looking for housing in Lake City, and while the project won't be built in time for their needs, it will help others down the road who want to live in Lake City.

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The city council also approved a $760,000 bid to build a pavilion at Ohuta Park. The pavilion would include a bathhouse for the beach area, storage and room for concessions.

The building would be a four-season structure complete with HVAC, meaning to can be used all year.

City Administrator Rob Keehn said the city had rebid the project after bids came in higher than expected last fall, but the new bids that were opened Monday did not improve the price for the project.

"It did not hurt us more than previous bids," Keehn said. "We were hoping prices might stabilize, but global events jumped in."

Keehn said the city understands that costs are going to rise, especially operating costs, in the coming year. That, combined with the cost of materials and "anything to do with petroleum," will be something the city needs to work into its budget.

The city did get a good bid for the repaving project for the marina parking lot, Keehn said.

The city accepted a bid of $1,584,462.50 from Pember Companies for the project. That bid came in about $400,000 less than the engineering estimate for the project.

Lake City City Council Wrap Up

What happened? The city council approved a $760,000 bid for the construction of the new bath house pavilion at Ohuta Park, a $1.58 million repaving of the marina parking lot, and a new PUD to support a proposed multi-family housing project near the Jewel Golf Club neighborhood.

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Why does this matter? The construction projects will improve the experience for visitors along Lake Pepin near downtown Lake City. The PUD is the next step in bringing market-rate housing to Lake City.

What's next? Construction on the bath house and the parking lot repavement will take place this summer. The city hopes to have the bath house pavilion done before July 4. The city next will consider a tax-increment financing deal to help developers with the price of the new housing project.

Brian Todd is the news editor at the Post Bulletin. When not at work, he spends time with his family, roots for the Houston Astros and watches his miniature dachshund sleep, which is why that dog is more bratwurst than hotdog. Readers can reach Brian at 507-285-7715 or btodd@postbulletin.com.
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