Frazee lures dental clinic away from Detroit Lakes
Free land offered to bring at about 35 jobs to neighboring community
FRAZEE — A generous offer by the Frazee Economic Development Authority lured a dental clinic away from Detroit Lakes.
Frazee EDA Chair Hank Ludtke learned the Northwest Minnesota Dental Collaboration project was seeking a location to build a dental clinic to serve low-income patients in Becker County. Ludtke spoke with other Frazee EDA members and city officials about the opportunity. After finding support, he contacted representatives of the dental clinic and laid out a lucrative offer of free land.
“No easements, no cost; just donated property,” Ludtke said.
The Frazee EDA-owned properties have been vacant for several years. While there won’t be a financial gain from selling land, Ludtke pointed out the gain comes with job creation. He said the dental clinic stands to bring about 35 jobs to the city to start.
The Frazee EDA showed three lots to the representatives of the dental clinic project: one lot was near County Road 29, one was in the business district along Maple Avenue and the final lot was along East Main Avenue, next to Essentia Health Clinic.
The parcel by the clinic was the top pick for the dental site. Jeanne Larson, executive director of Northern Dental Access Center, said soil borings were conducted and engineers have also viewed the site. The reports indicate the land is adequate for the intended building, and Larson said the next step is to have architects develop preliminary sketches.
“We want to replicate the size and scope of the Bemidji clinic, which is roughly 17,000-square-feet with 14 or 15 treatment rooms,” Larson said. “If it was the same as Bemidji, it would serve 75-80 patients a day. It would take many years to ramp up to full capacity, though.”
Larson emphasized the project is “on step three of 100.” After collecting construction cost estimates, funding still needs to be secured. The organization has been through the process several times before, as there are similar clinics in Hawley, Fergus Falls, Park Rapids, Moorhead, Halstad and Bemidji, all of which have patients on waiting lists.
Because of the waiting lists, Northern Dental Access Center began planning another clinic in the early 2000s. Becker County was identified as an optimal location and land was being sought in Detroit Lakes by mid-2022.