The Merrill Common Council unanimously approved a Committee of the Whole recommendation Tuesday night to allow the relocation of a planned development by Kind Hearted Home Care LLC from 900 E. First St., to the former Lincoln House property located at 120 S. Mill St. City government last month declined to act on a proposal for an apartment building on the Mill Street site. The council had formerly agreed to sell the First Street lot to Kind Hearted Home Care for development of a two-story, 2,400-square-foot facility. The new facility is planned to continue to offer Kind Hearted’s existing services including dementia and Alzheimer’s care, supportive home care offices and services for developmentally disabled clients. Expansion of services would include care for traumatic brain injury clients, intellectual disabilities, respite care for children, and spa services.
In other matters, the council also approved a resolution authorizing a development agreement between the city and Nicolet/Premier LLC, for the development of three apartment buildings with attached garages on a 5-acre parcel located at 1501 STH 107.
As part of the agreement, the city agreed to contribute $500,000 in TIF development incentive for the first phase of the proposed development, with the possibility of additional TIF funding in the future.
2nd District alderman Pete Lokemoen voiced his opposition to the agreement, citing better use of TIF funding and read aloud the following written, pre-prepared statement.
“In the period of time I have become involved in city government, 46 apartment buildings containing approximately 450 rental units have been created in Merrill, by private development.
Also, there has been 58 condo units and a number of rental duplexes created. None of these projects required or received city tax funds to initiate their construction.”
“The city of Merrill is in competition with other municipalities for industrial and service industry development. Therefore, financial and other incentives such as TIF dollars and infrastructure development, are utilized by all to provide the carrot to lure development to municipalities. We are not in competition with other municipalities for apartment units.”
“Rental units do not create jobs. Rather as employment opportunities become available and rental units are needed, the private sector will react to this need when financially feasible.
We are apparently well positioned to provide financial incentives for industrial development and we should reserve these funds for that use.”
“I can support infrastructure development in the form of utilities and roads, but I cannot support incentives for these privately owned apartment units.”
7th District alderman Rob Norton joined Lokemoen in opposition, as the resolution passed 6-2.