Timberline expansion, industrial park in Hamburg falls through due to cost

by Adam Gruenewald
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A possible expansion for Timberline Wood Products in Hamburg that would have jump started the city’s industrial park is now off the table due to unexpected costs.
That was what Hamburg council members decided with the business owner after hearing from City Engineer Justin Black during regular meetings on April 11 and 24.
On April 11, Black shared that the cost of the land development is estimated at about $72,000 for sewer and water connections, but council members were looking to decrease that cost, according to City Clerk Jeremy Gruenhagen.
“We wanted to have the engineer look at what the minimal amount would be for just the one parcel (for the) woodworking shop,” he said. “The city was trying to do the best they could to help Timberline expand their business and minimizing the impact and cost to the city.”
Unexpectedly, Black followed up on April 24 that the land upgrade would require additional stormwater and pond work for the water wells in the area that would increase the cost to over $150,000.
“Bottom line it just became too expensive,” said Gruenhagen. “It just turned out to unfortunately be not cost effective for the city at this time.”
As reported earlier, council members had reviewed concepts for the industrial park west of Hamburg City Hall that would have included two 1- to 1.5-acre parcels for Timberline Wood Products as well as space for other businesses.
Given upcoming expenses of water tower upgrades expected to cost well around $1 million, Gruenhagen said council members decided to postpone the industrial park development.
While the owner of Timberline Wood Products understood the decision, Gruenhagen said it is unknown whether the business will remain in town.
“They understood because they were looking to doing it at a bare minimum cost themselves and so was the city,” he said. “We would love to keep them here but unfortunately at this time, it’s not cost effective.”
Gruenhagen said the city would need a larger expansion in the future to justify the entire cost of the industrial park.
In other news at the April 24 meeting, Hamburg council members heard from Anthony Will of Broadband Corporation regarding upgrades to the lease agreement with the city water tower.
Hutchinson-based Broadband Corporation currently utilizes older antennas for internet from the water tower and will likely work with Jaguar Communications to offer fiber internet to the city.
Also, at the April 11 and April 24 meetings, council members discussed, but took no official action, on the Carver County proposed wheelage and sales tax.
As reported earlier, a 1/2 percent transportation sales tax and increase in wheelage tax from $10 to $20 per vehicle per year would generate sufficient funding for roads.
Gruenhagen said the consensus of the council was that while road and infrastructure upgrades are needed, they didn’t want a precedent set where Carver County would pay for state roads.
“I think the biggest concern the council had, and myself, was it seemed like half the project were for state roads,” said Gruenhagen.  “We were worried about setting a precedent and letting the state off the hook… All of a sudden, the state will think the counties will take care of state roads and it shouldn’t be that way.”
Council members also approved the resignation of Hamburg firefighter Zach Cook who joined in August 2014, OK’d the application for a DNR 50 percent matching grant for $4,000 for a radio for the fire department, approved the sale of 2001 Rescue 12 ambulance that is no longer needed, agreed on 2017-2018 emergency service agreements with the townships remaining at $150 per building unit, OK’d a liquor license for Parkside Tavern for a June 24 barbecue event and approved a payment of $1,100 for Robb’s Electric to upgrade the city’s flagpoles with LED lighting while delaying about $4,000 in other LED lights for a future date.
The Hamburg City Council will next meet at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, May 9.
Follow Adam Gruenewald on Twitter @adamgruenewald.