The Perham City Council established a new tax increment financing housing district on Wednesday, March 31. The district has 13 parcels in five areas.

Within district 2-43, the Westwind 4 homes and Grow Perham apartments will be expanding. Westwind 4 will include approximately 30 single-family homes. The properties are undeveloped, which allows the city to form a new TIF district. The plan is to develop six properties a year through May 2026.

The Grow Perham group, which aims to increase housing for the benefit of more jobs in Perham, is planning for its third 24-unit apartment building. They have two apartment buildings by Mark's Home and More near Highway 10.

The district also includes parcels from districts 2-27 and 29 that were “inactive” and will now be on the market again, as Ehlers Public Finance Advisors senior municipal advisor Todd Hagen said.

“I think this gets us, the city, where they need to be to kind of move forward with housing projects coming up,” Hagen said.

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The district is formed for a maximum of 25 years.

Ehlers did not receive any public comments prior to the meeting and no community members commented in-person or online in the public hearing.

The council also approved the project bids for the Westwind 4 development for $683,477.33. The contractor, R.L. Larson of St. Cloud, has also worked on projects such as the NE Industrial Park and Second Street SW. City Engineer Jade Berube remarked the bids and project assessments were lower than expected.

Other business discussed by the Perham City Council:

  • The council approved an updated financing plan for TIF district 2-24. The district includes the Westwind 2 addition and extends the district for an additional 10 years.

  • The council approved purchasing a home located by the Perham Area Community Center to help with traffic flow. The city paid $190,000. The remodeling project made this the perfect time to complete the purchase, though the PACC and city have discussed the option for at least 25 years, according to Smith. The home will either be moved off by an interested bidder or demolished. A possible bid opening would be decided after the city closes on the home in June.

Committee of the Whole

In a portion of the meeting where the council members were meeting as a Committee of the Whole, it received updates on the HUB and PACC projects

At the old Perham high school, the HUB project is continuing to move along nicely, as city manager Jonathan Smith said on March 31.

Hammers Construction is working on the ceiling and exterior insulation of the demo line area on the side of the building. The school has decided to move the greenhouse to their current property. Smith hopes the structure will be moved in the next few weeks. The city will save about $40,000 without this project.

“You can actually see the spaces, what they’re going to look like, how big they are,” Smith said of the interior work. “They’re trucking.”

The “fit up” or remodel of the PACC is starting on April 12. The first area, to be completed over the summer, is the aquatic center and locker rooms. The aquatic center will be closed from April 9 to August 2021. The Fox Street portion of the project will also be completed by the start of fall. The improvements will help with traffic flow.

Other business discussed by the Committee of the Whole:

  • A legal kiosk is available at the Perham Area Library to provide information and forms for legal cases. Services include connecting with Legal Services of Northwest Minnesota, a legal representative or lawyer and court services. The kiosk is open by appointment.

  • The library's meeting room is also open by appointment for groups of five to seven people. Call the library at 218-346-4892 for more information.

  • The Lakeside Golf Course is open.