The Forest Lake City Council has voted to move forward with a new downtown redevelopment plan.
The plan, commissioned last year by the Forest Lake City Council, showcases the lake and would make downtown more pedestrian friendly. One of the biggest changes being proposed is a rebuild of the block where the former Vannelli’s by the Lake is located, at the southeast corner of U.S. Highway 61/Lake Street and Broadway Avenue. The developer is Forest Lake-based Gaughan Cos., which built Lighthouse Lofts, a $22 million, five-story mixed-use development on the north side of downtown.
The redevelopment plan is a long-term process and will happen over the next 10 to 20 years, says Assistant City Administrator Dan Undem. It was approved by a 5-0 vote on Monday, July 25.
“Next, the council has to decide which projects to prioritize and how to fund them so we can maintain momentum,” Undem said.
An action plan will help city officials decide where and when they should focus their efforts, including whether the city should acquire buildings and have them torn down for redevelopment, said City Administrator Patrick Casey.
“All that costs millions of dollars, so until we get that plan and figure out what it is, you can’t decide on how you’re going to fund it, or where the money is going to come from — if it’s (tax-increment financing), if it’s a special tax, or whatever the case might be,” Casey said.