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Farmington puts focus back on stalled project

More than a decade ago, the land at Denmark Avenue and County State Aid Highway 50 was earmarked for future retail development in Farmington.

A site plan was drawn up. Developers tried to find businesses for the buildings that were going to be constructed. The development was given the name Vermillion River Crossings. The city built a bridge to get customers to the shops that at that time existed only on paper.

Then, the development fell through. A few businesses popped up on the land marked as the new hub of commercial development, but by and large, that Vermillion River Crossings land has sat vacant for years.

But the dream of new commercial development at Denmark and CSAH 50 has never really gone away for Farmington city council members, not for city staff, and not for the city’s boards and commissions.

That’s why, on Monday, May 12, members of the Farmington City Council, planning commission and economic development authority will have a workshop to focus on the future of Vermillion River Crossings.

“Still probably the number one priority of the council is to get (Vermillion River Crossings) going again,” said city administrator David McKnight.

The meeting was requested by the EDA, McKnight said. They wanted to meet with the council and planning commission to review the plans of a decade ago, and talk about whether those concepts still apply today.

The group will review things like zoning, design standards and some of the existing assessments on a number of parcels connected to the site, McKnight said.

“This is an opportunity to make sure we’re all on the same page to get things happening out there again,” he said. “It’s a very broad issue.”

One project, a hotel, has been proposed for the Vermillion River Crossings site in the last year, McKnight said. The city has been working with the land owner and the potential hotel builder, and making some progress on that project.

But the rest of the land use is still unknown.

McKnight plans to take the information from the May 12 workshop and create a new set of priorities for the site, based on the feedback he receives.

“They will be able to say, here’s where we are coming from as a city, so they are working together when they are talking with developers, brokers and so on,” McKnight said.

The workshop will begin at 6:30 p.m., at Farmington City Hall.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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