Annexation, Redistricting and Redevelopment Discussed At Wakefield City Council

Annexation, Redistricting and Redevelopment Discussed At Wakefield City Council
Wakefield Health Care Center administrator Traci Haglund gives her quarterly report during the Wakefield City Council meeting.

WAKEFIELD – Wakefield’s City Council ruled on annexation, redistricting and a redevelopment plan along with other business at their meeting on Wednesday night.

No one spoke at the public hearing held for the issue of annexation of six parcels of land inside the levee on the north end of town. City attorney Lee Miner told the council that officially annexing the parcels was basically cleaning up what should have been done a long time ago as the parcels are inside areas already part of the city proper. The council voted unanimously to annex the parcels.

The Pick and Perry Development Redevelopment Project, which could bring up to 90 new apartment units to Wakefield was added to the City’s redevelopment plan. The Pick and Perry project is projected to cost the developer about $14 million. They will be using Tax Increment Financing or TIF to complete up to three new apartment buildings, with 30 units each, in one apartment complex in the Industrial Tract. The Community Redevelopment Authority will capture tax generated by the project for 15 years. Based on projections of the total project including all 90 units, the CRA could have expected to capture roughly $2.3 million.

However, at the meeting both the CRA and the project’s developer and contractor confirmed that the number of units built will depend on the need, with the contractor telling the council, “we don’t want to build all 90 doors and 60 doors sit there vacant…we want to build them as they’re being filled.” The CRA understood that meant they aren’t maximizing the potential TIF dollars coming in, but the value in added housing and development is worth that.

Plans to redistrict the City of Wakefield after the 2020 census were approved. Wakefield’s two wards saw very little change, however, it will mean a big impact on the council in the coming years as three current council members are now in the same ward. Council members will fulfil their terms representing the wards they were elected to, but it means next election cycle there could be some new challengers.

Wakefield Health Care Center administrator Traci Haglund was present to give her quarterly report to the council. She said she was happy with the resident census at the moment, but they are short-staffed. Haglund also said that soon the facility will need a new roof and is in need of some other improvements, the total cost of which is estimated around $400,000. They recently started a capital campaign and have already raised about $12,000.

A number of items were tabled and moved to a special meeting to be held on Wednesday, December 15. These include a contract extension for current city administrator Jim Litchfield, a financial package and contract for newly hired city administrator Chad Mackling and approval for Nicki Decker to act as interim city administrator. A question of who will purchase the CVA’s old bin site will also be discussed. The purchaser will either be the CRA or the Sales Tax Committee.

Before the meeting’s close, Val Bard was elected as the 2022 Wakefield City Council President after she was nominated by Larry Soderberg.  The next regularly scheduled Wakefield City Council meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the Wakefield Civic Center.