LITTLE FALLS -- The Little Falls City Council isn't waiting for economic development to happen, it is creating business opportunities.
The council recently passed motions creating three new business districts in Little Falls. The districts will be 224 acres lining Highway 371 and Highway 10.
"Our current industrial park on the west side is filled up," said Richard Carlson, Little Falls city administrator.
The first new industrial area, Chief Hole in the Day plat and park, is east of Highway 10, at the Highway 371 and Highway 10 bypass, on the bluffs adjacent to Hole in the Day's grave.
Hole in the Day was an Ojibwe leader who negotiated with other Native American tribes and the government for the Ojibwe nation. He was buried on the bluff overlooking the city.
The total site is about 120 acres, but the city is creating a 14-acre park between Hole in the Day's grave and the industrial area.
The site is zoned planned unit development. There are few rules about how it will be developed because each business must hold a public hearing about the aesthetics. None of the businesses will be allowed billboards, outdoor storage or junk yards. The city also requires the businesses to leave a space for landscaping between the businesses and the freeway "to give a boulevard effect," Carlson said.
The area will be primarily for industrial businesses that would like the freeway visibility, but don't need easy freeway access, he said.
"We hopefully have our first industry in the Chief-Hole-in-the-Day addition," said Jerry Lochner, Little Falls city services manager.
Northern United, a manufacturing business, has contacted the city about building on the site this summer, Carlson said.
Sewer and water also will be installed this summer, he said.
On the northwest side of the freeway at the same bypass the 33-acre North Bluff addition was purchased in March. It is zoned industrial which means the businesses must meet certain zoning requirements to build there.
"It has ready access from the highway and freeway," Carlson said.
He said there is a business that has expressed an interest in building on the entire site. Sewer and water will likely be in place by next summer, Lochner said.
The city purchased the 71-acre Gideon's Farm addition in April. It is located on Highway 10 south of the first exit.
"We envision that one probably more a business park as well because it will be close to the exit," Carlson said.
It also is zoned planned unit development. Building might begin on the Gideon's Farm site this year because sewer and water is already in place, Carlson said.
The city will likely build a street department building and holding pond there, he said.
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