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Farmland designated as River Heights’ first commercial property

October 14th, 2009 Posted in Opinion

by Catherine Meidell

RIVER HEIGHTS — The Todd G. Weston Family LTD Partnership Property has officially been adopted as commercial land as of last night’s River Heights City Council meeting.

The property is the first deemed commercial land in the city of River Heights. Now that this crucial step has been taken, developers will be hired to look into the construction oppurtunities available.

The property has been in Greenbelt since the rezoning and available to rent. Bart Weston, a co-owner of the partnership property, said commercial developments aren’t “going to pop up overnight. We are in the early stage of the process.” He said the land was mostly used for grazing animals.

“Mayor Bill Baker has been pushing for commercial land for a long time now,” said Sheila Lind, city recorder.

She said it was not lawful for the city to search for land that could be annexed to River Heights. Luckily, the Weston family offered their land to be annexed and rezoned as commercial.

The city currently has no commercial tax base, but it has a need to support its finances, Lind said. There isn’t a particular city expenditure that is in dire need of funding, but the money River Heights receives from future businesses on the commercial property will be issud as needed when the year’s budget is set in place.

Weston said the land’s transformation from agricultural to commercial has taken months to be approved by city council. Weston is excited about the land because it will create a solid tax base for River Heights and will be essential in the growth of city funding. The land is prepared and free of previous crops to accommodate commercial devlopment. The property owners and council members are beginning research on businesses that have the potential to be a success in the city.

“We don’t want a bunch of office buildings put there,” Weston said.

In other business, council members decided Ryan’s Park will be closed for the winter no later than Nov. 15. Depending on the weather situation, the park may be closed before this date. Bathroom plumbing and water fountains will be turned off to avoid freezing. In the cold months, ice on the playground equipment becomes the city’s liability, said Councilwoman Kathryn Hadfield.

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