EDA discusses vacant commercial sites

Local News

A city development group wants something done about two vacant commercial properties in Winnebago.

“It’s an eye sore when you drive into Winnebago,” says Mayor Jeremiah Schutt. “I get complaints about that every once in a while.”

Schutt is referring to the J M Manufacturing building that has been empty since April 2007, when the plastic pipe maker was closed.

Economic Development Authority (EDA) board member Doug Hill says he recently tried to contact company officials headquartered in Los Angeles.

“I left messages, but have been unsuccessful,” says Hill. “We need to step up our efforts to contact them. The building is just sitting there and falling down. It’s disconcerting.”

City Administrator Chris Ziegler says the company is still billed $60 a month for water service.

J M Manufacturing also continues to pay property taxes on seven parcels totaling nearly 31 acres.

Last year, J M paid $20,992 in taxes; $21,232 in 2016; and $21,103 in 2015. This year the company is scheduled to pay $20,464.

On another matter, board member Brad Wolf says the city needs to find a tenant a 32,000 square foot facility owned by Zierke Built Manufacturing.

Wolf says he has briefly talked to Greg Zierke about his plans with the building, which is priced at $400,000.

“With that selling price, I don’t know why we can’t get someone in there,” he says. “It’s a steal and a no-brainer.”

Fellow board member Scott Lehman agrees with Wolf, saying that the EDA should consider spending money to promote its sale.

“I think that would show the city is really trying to put an effort in attracting businesses. It would send a message,” says Lehman.

Mary Kennedy of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) told EDA board members says she would like a tour of both sites.

She says the two properties could be among other sites listed for sale by the state’s Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Faribault County and Blue Earth each pay CEDA, headquartered in Chatfield, $50,000 annually to provide economic development services.

Kennedy splits her time between the county’s office located at the Ag Center and the city’s at City Hall.

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