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County briefed on tenant for Eco Industrial Park

Author: Britta Arendt,  Herald Review
Saturday, September 15, 2012 6:00 am

The public hearing may have been postponed but the public announcement was made Tuesday that the first new tenant for the old Ainsworth property is Cutsforth Holdings, LLC.

The public hearing was to be before the Itasca County Board of Commissioners to consider granting a property tax abatement and development contract for the company. The city of Grand Rapids continued a public hearing opened on Monday, Sept. 10, to a future meeting.

“We heard this morning from the city, indicating there has been considerable changes made to the agreement,” explained Itasca County Auditor/Treasurer Jeff Walker during the county board’s meeting Tuesday.

Walker said the specialty manufacturer now operating in the Sugar Lake area is considering expanding to the Ainsworth site which is currently a brown field area. “So this would mediate contamination and provide a suitable location for expansion of the business.”

Cutsforth has asked the county for tax relief, “not to extend 15 years,” according to Walker.

The reason the public hearing had to be deferred, Walker explained was because “the scope has changed and the size of the building has decreased so the tax revenue will decrease. So we’ll have to make adjustments and represent this to the public.”

Although the size of the project may be smaller, it promises to provide employment opportunities and revive a vacant industrial park. Jeff Borling, Director of Itasca Business Development for APEX at Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), has been working with Cutsforth Holdings, LLC, at expanding to the former Ainsworth property which IEDC has promoted as the Itasca Eco Industrial Park, owned by the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority.

“This is a great project for our region,” said Borling before the county board.

Borling explained that the company plans to offer high-paying manufacturing jobs.

“This is as much a business retention as well as an expansion,” he said.

The board voted to continue the public hearing for Sept. 25.

In other business, commissioners:

• Adopted the proposed tax levy for 2013 as $31,554,803, a 3.99 percent increase over 2012 and scheduled a public meeting for Tuesday, Dec. 11, at 6 p.m. for public discucssion on the levy and budget.

• Recognized county employees Andria Marcotte, newly-hired QI-UM nurse with IMCare; William Hilback, newly-hired assessor/appraiser; and Jerry Kortekaas, retiring from his position of patrol operator with road and bridge after 31+ years of service, effective Sept. 14.

• Heard a presentation on Shoreland Stewardship Awards, promoting the protection of the county’s waters by both residents and resorts/camps and organizations on the shoreland.

• Approved the creation of a deputy sheriff/public safety communication technician position to coordinate and manage the overall operation, maintenance and configuration of the ARMER 800 MHz interoperable public safety radio system.

The position will be funded through maintenance funds supplied by members of the public safety network.