City plan to buy historic building advances

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The concept of a homeless shelter at 621 W. Fourth St. has gained support from the Red Wing Advisory Planning Commission.

Following a closed Red Wing City Council session last week that revealed the purpose of a proposed land purchase, the Planning Commission voted to move forward.

After a special meeting Wednesday, July 5, at City Hall, three commissioners voted unanimously that the city should purchase 621 W. Fourth St., stating the purchase is consistent with the Red Wing Comprehensive Plan. Commissioners Samantha Tix Cardell and Don Regelman were absent; Commissioner Kate Eiynck, who works for Goodhue County Land-use Management, recused herself.

The city attorney determined that the Planning Commission must review the proposed acquisitions and capital improvements as per Minnesota Statute 462.356.

"With funding issues, there are churches around here that do give funding for homeless operations," Commission Vice Chairperson Christopher Nelson said. "We see that within the community, it's just not coming out of the pocketbooks of the city. The things that I saw in there (meeting packet) did back up the comprehensive plan in regards to a possible homeless shelter."

Goodhue County also has expressed interest in the property. During a board meeting June 13, commissioners voted 3-2 (commissioners Jason Majerus and Barney Nesseth against) to offer a bid of $486,250. The motion made by the board was to award the parking lot bid to Pember Companies on the neighboring properties. This does not include purchasing other properties at the location. The county, which owns flanking properties, aims to use the lot for parking and potential long-term expansion in the area.

Bremseth Family Dental is currently located at 621 W. Fourth St. The city's proposed homeless shelter would reuse the existing structure. According to the Red Wing Zoning Ordinance, the homeless shelter would be considered a community service, warranting a rezoning of the property. The 621 W. Fourth St. property is the last remaining historic residential structure on the block.

Looking ahead, Red Wing City Council will hold a public hearing to gain citizen input on the homeless shelter.