No action is taken on Westwind mortgage by officials

WILLMAR -- The developer of Westwind Estates is asking the City Council to approve a $350,000 mortgage and promissory note for the affordable housing project in southwest Willmar.

WILLMAR -- The developer of Westwind Estates is asking the City Council to approve a $350,000 mortgage and promissory note for the affordable housing project in southwest Willmar.

Money for the mortgage came from a $350,000 grant the city re-ceived ea- rlier in the year from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

The Willmar City Council had applied for the grant, under a cooperative agreement with project developer Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, with the intent of lending the money to Southwest as part of the project's financing.

Thursday night, a Southwest official asked the council's Community Development Committee to approve the mortgage and promissory note. Committee approval would be a recommendation to the full council. City staff also recommended the documents be approved.

But committee members offered no motion of support. After hearing no motion, committee chairman Bruce DeBlieck said the mortgage and promissory note would be sent to the council without a recommendation.


Three committee members -- Ron Christianson, Cindy Swenson and Jim Dokken -- are among four council members who walked out of a special March 31 council meeting to prevent the council from voting on Westwind street improvements.

During committee discussion Thursday, Christianson, who represents Ward 2 where the project is being developed and who opposes the project, questioned the legality of partnership applications and documents because the partnership used three different names to identify itself.

Christianson said one name was used in the partnership's electronic application to the state and one name was used in the cooperative agreement with the city. The final name, Westwind Estates Townhomes Limited Partnership, appears on the mortgage documents presented to the committee.

Christianson asked if City Attorney Rich Ronning had approved the documents and was told by City Administrator Michael Schmit that Ronning had approved the documents.

Dokken said he could not vote on the mortgage and promissory note because the papers were only presented at the meeting and he had not had time to read them. Dokken said he would be ready to vote at the Monday night council meeting.

In an interview later, Christianson said his concern is whether the cooperative agreement is legally binding because the name is not the same as the name on the mortgage.

Schmit, in an interview, said there was no legal problem with the name.

In other business, the committee approved the concept of deeding land along 28th Street Southwest in the old city airport to Kandiyohi County as the site for the new Humane Society of Kandiyohi County building.


Also, the committee received an update from Adam Arvidson, urban designer for Willmar Design Center, who discussed a preliminary concept for reconstruction of Becker Avenue from First Street to Sixth Street Southwest for a downtown commons area.

The concept would provide an opportunity for continued downtown redevelopment and provide regular space for festivals and markets. The report was received for information.

A report on the committee's meeting will be presented to the council at the regular 7 p.m. meeting Monday in the chambers at the Municipal Utilities Building.

The council will receive comments from the public during the open forum. Other agenda items include a Finance Committee report, legislative update from congressional lobbyist David Turch, and presentations by the YMCA Youth in Government program and from the Southwest Imitative Foundation.

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