For years, Green Isle City Councilors have longed for the day when a business came asking about land in the city’s business park. Last Tuesday (March 28), council members got the news they had been awaiting.
A small brewery with up about 40 employees is looking for land that best suits its needs. Gaylord native Mike Goetsch and two partners own it. Their company is interested in a lot in the city’s business park. Mayor Joe Kreger reported the city is promoting two lots of similar size along Shamrock Drive near 365th Avenue. The company needs a lot that can easily handle a 15,000-square-foot building and parking for 40 vehicles. The council expects the building will include a loading dock.
Green Isle is one of a few area communities in the running for the site, Goetsch said Wednesday morning (March 29). He is looking for a site that is a blend of close enough to the Twin Cities to draw master brewers and staff and a location in an exurban area -- commuter towns outside an urban area -- where land is affordable.
The new facility will house a brewing operation. The beer, once ready for consumption, will be trucked from Green Isle into Minneapolis to the company’s taproom near to U.S. Bank Stadium, Kreger said at the March 28 city council meeting.
The city council is recommending its economic development authority support a package of incentives that includes offering Goetsch and his partners one of the two lots (both about 3½-acres) in the business park for $1.
Green Isle is also willing to waive the assessments on either of the two lots. The assessments range from $1,434.89 to $1,663.57. The council also OK’d offering five years of property tax abatement, though council members conceded negotiations may extend the abatement to 10 years. Councilor Diane Brown said, “We’d be fools” not to extend the inducement to hopefully attract Goetsch and his partners to bring the operation to Green Isle.
Kreger expected the city would have to negotiate an economic development package that benefits both the city council and the company. “There should be some back and forth here since we’re giving them the lot for $1,” he said.
The proposed sale of one of two lots for $1 and the property tax abatement would be accompanied by stipulations a building would be built within a year or two and that the company meet hiring requirements within a similar period of time to receive the incentives, said City Attorney Ross Arneson.
“I’d say we do whatever we can to get them in here,” said Councilor Shawn Harms.
A big hurdle to lure the company to Green Isle is the quality of the city’s water. The company would likely be one of the city’s larger consumers of municipal water. Goetsch and his partners will be testing it to determine if it’s compatible to brewing beer, Kreger said.
“It could stop the project right there,” he said.
News of the company’s potential interest in Green Isle comes at the same time city residents received their tax statements. Harms complained during the meeting that a larger size house in Waconia has lower city property taxes compared to his house in Green Isle. He said bringing a business to Green Isle like a brewery could help reduce the property tax imbalance between commercial and residential property.

Payments on Lots
The Green Isle City Council is keeping a close eye on payments on the remaining 43 undeveloped residential lots the city sold in 2014 via contract for deed to developers Bill Feldman and Norm Beckman. The developers owe the city over $11,000 for two missed principal and interest payments for 2016 and the first payment for 2017. The money goes toward the bonds the city issued for infrastructure for the residential land.
The city was told the developers expected an invoice for the regular payments, something the city typically wouldn’t do in a contract for deed scenario, Arneson said. The developers told the city a check is forthcoming.
“It seems to me they’re not taking us very seriously,” said Councilor Mark Wentzlaff.
The property taxes on the lots have been paid, a sign the developers intend to keep the lots, Arneson said. Harms asked about the city’s option. Arneson said the city can give the developers 60 days notice to catch up on the payments. If they have not made the payment following the formal notice, the city will retake ownership, Arneson said.
Wentzlaff wants the council to decide how it will proceed at the council’s next meeting Tuesday, April 11. “We’ve got to do something,” he said.
But city ownership of the lots would remove the residential property from the property tax rolls. The council wants the lots generating property taxes. The council is also frustrated that, until recently, Feldman and Beckman haven’t put much effort marketing the lots for sale.
“I still think we’re in the best location in the county,” Kreger said.

In other action at the March 28 meeting, the Green Isle City Council:
• Paid bills totaling $4,336.28.
• Discussed a closed-door meeting between officials from Green Isle Community School and its financial advisors with two city councilors, the city’s financial advisors and city attorney regarding the amount the school owes the city for missed lease payments. The meeting was scheduled for yesterday (April 4). Kreger said the amount Green Isle said charter school owes the city was inaccurate. He plans to report details of the meeting back to the full council. The payments from the school help fund debt service on a bond the city issued to renovate and reopen the school in 2005.
• Discussed the state of Green Isle’s application for a USDA grant to establish a revolving loan fund for economic development purposes with Amy Newsom, a Sibley County Community Development staffer contracted to work with the city. Newsom said the city’s odds of winning the grant would be better if the city offered additional matching money. The council agreed unanimously to put $5,100 in matching money to potentially win a $10,000 USDA grant. Green Isle won’t be out the $5,100 if its application is declined.
• Discussed possible maintenance to a “Welcome to Green Isle” sign on Highway 5 on the southwest corner of the city. “It’s looking pretty shabby,” said Councilor Diane Brown.
• Discussed additional sweeping of city streets this spring. The city had previously planned to sweep streets annually in the fall.
• Discussed maintenance plans for an alley along Cleveland Street. The city plans to repave the alley. It also has directed that garbage/recycling trucks pick up garbage/recycling on the street and not via the alley, sparing the paved alley the weight of trucks.