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City garage may be sold to Barrel O’ Fun

Perham has tentative plans to sell its public works facility to Barrel O’ Fun.

The potential sale is contingent on a number of factors, including the city finding a suitable site for a new facility. The property would also need to be rezoned to allow for commercial use, which would require a public hearing.

If the sale comes to fruition, the property will serve as a storage space for Barrel O’ Fun’s semi-trailers, instead of the city’s snow plows.

It’s an arrangement that has the potential to be good for both the city and KLN Family Brands (the parent company of Barrel O’ Fun), according to City Manager Kelcey Klemm.

Klemm laid out the tentative sale plan at a public department head meeting last week, though the idea has been talked about in committees for the last several months.

“This discussion all culminated last summer when we were looking at putting an addition onto the current (public works) shop,” he said. “Before we put that investment in the property, we talked to KLN, and they were interested in the property...because they have trailer parking issues.”

The city would sell the current facility and property for $950,000, well above the $575,000 appraised value, which would help toward the cost of constructing a new public works facility.

In exchange, the city would amend its Tax Increment Financing agreement with KLN, upping the company’s reimbursement to 90 percent.

“We as a city felt like we needed to get more than the appraised value in order to start new someplace,” said Klemm of why the property’s price was set higher than its appraised value.

If the city finds an adequate site for a new public works facility, the sale could be finalized as soon as this spring. The city will retain full use of the property until the public works department is fully moved into its new place.

If contingencies are not met, the agreement will become null and void.

Located in a relatively residential area at the corner of 5th Street N.W. and Lake Avenue, the public works facility neighbors Arvig Park and Kowabunga Skate and Bike Park. 

If sold to Barrel O’ Fun, the 12-acre parcel will be modified and buffered with things like taller trees and shrubs, a 6-foot or higher privacy fence and a knee-high earthen berm to help shield and separate the area from nearby parks and homes.

As drawn out on a preliminary engineer’s draft, the property’s current access at 5th Street N.W. would be closed off to deter truck traffic, and a new entrance and exit would be built off of Lake Avenue. The skate park would get a new, separate parking access off of Lake Avenue, as well, and a new parking lot.

There is also a tower on the property, which is owned by Arvig and leased by the city. That lease expires this year and would need to be renegotiated before the land sale could be finalized. Before any changes get made, residents will have a chance to share their input and any concerns at the public hearing, which was not yet scheduled at press time.

Marie Johnson

Marie Johnson joined the Perham Focus more than five years ago, and has since worn many hats as writer, editor and page designer. She lives in rural Frazee with her husband, Dan, their one-year-old son, Simon, and their yellow lab, Louisa. 

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