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East Grand Forks projecting growth

Development officials and city staff are planning on steady growth in residential and commercial development in East Grand Forks. The city predicted in one of several scenarios two years ago that it could acquire 2,275 residents over the course o...

A flag flies over East Grand Forks City Hall commemorating the work and to recognize the retirement of Capt. Joseph Snowden, a Coast Guard commander who's retiring after 27 years. During the 1997 flood Commander Snowden was in charge of a disaster response unit that helped rescue people trapped by the flood. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald
A flag flies over East Grand Forks City Hall commemorating the work and to recognize the retirement of Capt. Joseph Snowden, a Coast Guard commander who's retiring after 27 years. During the 1997 flood Commander Snowden was in charge of a disaster response unit that helped rescue people trapped by the flood. photo by Eric Hylden/Grand Forks Herald

Development officials and city staff are planning on steady growth in residential and commercial development in East Grand Forks.

The city predicted in one of several scenarios two years ago that it could acquire 2,275 residents over the course of 30 years.

"I think we're kind of on par with that," said City Planner Nancy Ellis. In 2016, the year when council members approved updates to the 2045 plan, estimates the city received from the State Demographer's Office projected a population of 8,843 people. In 2017, Ellis said the state indicated there were about 8,876 residents.

"So we're going up about 40 people per year," she said. "(It's) just kind of a muted growth from the demographers."

Over the last year Ellis said the city had added 15 houses. She said the city had anticipated it would need to add about 20 each year.

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Most residential development Ellis knows of has been on infill lots the city owned and sold to builders.

"The other nice thing with an infill lot is the utilities and the services are already there," Ellis said, referring to sewer services and electricity. "When you plat something new, you have new utilities that are required, roads that need to be built."

The city and the plan also project growth north of 23rd Street Northwest and south of 13th Street Southeast and Rhinehart Drive Southeast.

Paul Gorte, city economic development director, reported the city has somewhere around 50 city-owned in-fill lots.

"This year we have sold approximately eight lots, or have commitments, on about eight lots," he said.

"We would love to have a buyer buy all of those lots tomorrow, if we could," Gorte said. "For the improvements that were done, there are specials the city has to pay on those. ... We would greatly prefer they were sold very quickly as opposed to holding onto them."

The city has had a hard time selling the lots so far.

"What we see is people are afraid of income taxes, because of the way Minnesota raises money vis-a-vis the way North Dakota raises money," Gorte said.

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Recently the city has been implementing incentive programs to bring in builders and contractors to construct homes for resale on those lots. Council members approved continuing a similar program it had approved in 2016 for lots in Waters Edge, near the Valley Golf Course, and now offer builders access to no-interest loans in Coulee View in southeast East Grand Forks, too.

"It has brought in additional homes to the East Side that would not have occurred but for the program," Gorte said.

He also noted there is new commercial development going on, in a way.

"What we've seen this year is largely in the area of expansion of existing businesses," he said. "Large pieces of equipment bought and installed, so they can expand their businesses."

Some business Gorte noted included Mayo Manufacturing and Northland Custom Woodworking.

Related Topics: EAST GRAND FORKS
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