WALKER -- The Cass County Board approved an agreement with the state Tuesday to begin the Ah-Gwah-Ching reuse study, with the Cass County Economic Development Corp. designated as the lead agency to process the project.
The EDC will hire an economic development specialist with $13,000 the state funnels through the county to manage this project.
Architects interested in providing a master reuse plan for existing buildings will be invited to a March 15 meeting at Ah-Gwah-Ching. Any architect wishing to work on the project must attend.
They must submit their proposals by March 31. All proposals will be analyzed and a decision reached in April on whether any will be selected.
Following that, developers will be invited to submit purchase and redevelopment proposals to the city and state through the EDC. Dates are still pending for submission deadlines, said Cass County Administrator Robert Yochum, but the deadline is expected to be sometime this fall.
An evaluation team composed of state, county and EDC representatives will consider those proposals, Yochum said.
The state, county and EDC may or may not accept any of the proposals, according to requests for proposals draft document.
Because the site is on the national register of historic sites, Minnesota Historical Society also will provide comments to the evaluation team.
If a project is selected, it would require special state legislation to authorize a sale to a developer.
Cass County still continues to pursue the possibility of a regional jail on 55 acres of the Ah-Gwah-Ching site. Yochum reported to the board Tuesday he and Sheriff Randy Fisher testified before a state Senate committee on the county's proposal last week.
State bills proposed to offer matching state funding in the Minnesota House and Senate will go now to financial committees before they will be considered on the full floor of either legislative unit, Yochum said.
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