During a special meeting Thursday night, the Merrill Common Council approved a development agreement with Merrill Area Development Corporation to redevelop the vacant Hurd property at 201 S. Prospect St.
MADC is acquiring the 33-acre vacant manufacturing property. Under the terms of the proposed agreement, 35 manufacturing jobs would be relocated to Merrill through the initial redevelopment project, with an additional 40 new jobs created over the next year.
The city agrees to provide a $200,000 TID loan to MADC, payable over 10 years. In addition, the city would purchase a five-acre parcel off North Pine Ridge Avenue from MADC for $100,000. That property would be used for regional stormwater drainage and future development.
The redevelopment of the Hurd property would include some building demolition and environmental remediation work.
After a couple of deals on the property by other parties had fallen through, Lincoln County Economic Development Director Jack Sroka approached MADC about purchasing the property earlier this year. In July, MADC began steps to acquire the former manufacturing site from the private investor who had purchased it from Hurd.
A business park development is planned for the property, Sroka said.
“We’re talking to different businesses to locate on the site,” he said, adding that one business is already planning to move there once MADC takes ownership.
The development agreement with the city is the first critical step toward MADC acquiring the property, Sroka said. He added that he hopes to see the purchase completed in the next couple of weeks.
The property has been idle for more than 10 years since Hurd ceased operations there.
MADC is a not for profit, stock corporation, incorporated in the early 1950’s. MADC started the current Merrill Industrial Park with the purchase of land from the city of Merrill in the mid 1970’s. Starting with Northern Wire in 1980, the industrial park has attracted a number of businesses. In 2005, MADC donated 21 acres of land in the park to Northcentral Technical College for the recently-completed Public Safety Center of Excellence campus.
Sroka will be retiring shortly as Lincoln County Economic Development Director, but plans to continue with the project at the Hurd property. Susan Ryman has been named as the new Lincoln County Economic Development Director.