With an 8-0 vote, the Wahpeton City Council approved allocating up to $85,715 in assistance for the upcoming Travelodge Hotel and Event Center.
The Travelodge will be located at the present Knights Inn property on the 210 Bypass. Extensive renovations are planned.
“There’s going to be work on the roof, the parking lot, windows, locks and security, plumbing, HVAC and electrical,” said Community Development Director Chris DeVries, describing work that’s for the hotel alone.
Paul Sjurseth, owner and president of S&S Hospitality of North Dakota, Inc. will receive assistance to buy down interest. That money’s in the form of a loan from Wahpeton’s sales tax for economic development fund.
“This would be paid back starting in 2023, with payments of $10,970.04 annually,” 1st Ward Councilman Rory McCann said.
Additional 8-0 votes established the hotel and event center as Renaissance Zone projects. Both will be on a city block previously unanimously voted as an addition to the Renaissance Zone.
Wahpeton’s Finance, Personnel and Economic Development Committee recommended against allocating $10,000 to assist in installation of a new water line. No further action was taken by council or the committee.
“Committee members and city officials expressed concern about setting a precedent,” Daily News Media previously reported.
Not closing a door
With a 7-1 vote, the council approved sending a letter declining continued participating in and funding of a local division of the North Dakota Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The dissenting vote came from Councilman-at-Large Perry Miller.
“Before we do something like this, I think we need to understand what the SBDC does,” Miller said. “I think there’s several businesses in town that wouldn’t be here without the SBDC.”
North Dakota State College of Science is no longer the host for the local SBDC. There also isn’t a current SBDC advisor. Wahpeton finance committee members reviewed a proposal that would have the city participate in an arrangement with Fargo and Jamestown, North Dakota.
“One host (is) interested in hiring, housing and supporting a shared SBDC advisor,” Daily News Media previously reported. “However, the potential host would like a multi-year local match funding commitment.”
Wahpeton’s decision to not participate in the arrangement does not mean potential business owners will lose access to the SBDC.
“Local inquiries can still be directed to the Fargo SBDC office for assistance,” McCann said.
Mayor Steve Dale added that it’s not a case of closing the door with the SBDC. It’s just that the city won’t be participating with them right now.
With another 8-0 vote, council approved 2019 city license applications. The approval was contingent on all licensing requirements being verified and finalized.
Fourteen Wahpeton businesses were approved to serve and sell liquor in 2019. Liquor licenses will be issued in five categories:
• Class A licenses, which allow on and off sale of liquor; The Driftwood Lounge, Firehouse Pub, Sportsman’s Lounge, Econo Wine and Spirits and Simonson Station Store will all receive these licenses.
• Class B licenses, which allow off sale only of liquor. Chuck’s Off Sale and Casey’s General Store will receive these licenses.
• Class C-1 licenses, pertaining to restaurants. Prante’s Fine Dining, El Toro, City Brew Hall and The Boiler Room will receive these licenses.
• Class C-5 licenses, pertaining to clubs or lodges. The Eagles Club and Wahpeton Veterans Club will receive these licenses.
• Class C-6(A) licenses, a seasonal license. The Grille Room, Bois de Sioux Golf Course, will receive this license.
Seven businesses also applied for Class C-2 cabaret licenses. These allow for general entertainment including music and trivia.
Council members also reviewed and approved applications for, among others, Wahpeton’s tobacco sellers, itinerant merchants, and taxi businesses.
The council’s discussion with area legislators has been scheduled. State Sen. Larry Luick, R-District 25, Rep. Cindy Schreiber Beck, R-District 25, and Rep. Alisa Mitskog, D-District 25, will visit City Hall at 12 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 12. Priorities for 2019, including funding opportunities and preservation, are expected to be on the agenda.
Residents are invited to a 5 p.m. public information meeting Tuesday, Dec. 11 at City Hall. The proposed Rosewood shared use path, which would connect from 16th Avenue North to 11th Street North, will be discussed. Public Works Director Dennis Miranowski announced a short presentation will be followed by an open house, question and answer period.
The next council meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 at City Hall, 1900 Fourth St. N. in Wahpeton.