Ask an Official: City Administrator discusses future industrial park
This week’s featured question was submitted for Merrill City Administrator Dave Johnson
The question reads:
“Whatever happened to plans for a new industrial park? Is there still going to be one built? If not, why not? If yes, when do you think it will start and what all will be included? I remember hearing a lot of talk about it then it faded off.”
Answer as given by Johnson
“An industrial park is an area zoned and planned for the purpose of industrial development, as opposed to residential or commercial use. An industrial park can be thought of as a more “heavyweight” version of a business park or office park, which has offices and light industry, rather than heavy industry. Industrial parks are usually located on the edges of, or outside the main residential area of a city, and normally provided with good transportation access and ready access to utilities.
“This idea of setting land aside through industrial zoning is based on several concepts: To be able to concentrate dedicated infrastructure in a specific area to reduce the per-business expense of that infrastructure; To be able to attract new business by providing an integrated infrastructure in one location; Eligibility of Industrial Parks for certain benefits, such as TIF and state funding: To set aside industrial uses from urban areas to try to reduce the environmental and social impact of the industrial uses; To provide for localized environmental controls that are specific to the needs of an industrial area.
“Merrill’s east side industrial park is alive and well. The recently annexed acreage north of Highway G and west of Highway 51 is available for industrial development. We will not be developing infrastructure until we have interest in all, or a portion, of the property so that we know what needs to be built for a specific development. Gas and electric service is readily available and highway access is in place, we are planning the extension of sewer and water to the site. Without available vacant land for development companies seeking a site will locate elsewhere. The industrial park is an investment in Merrill’s future.”
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