By Delta Daggett
What Does Frazee Need? Good question. Frazee and every town needs something. We can say it does not need anything and just coast along, or we can look for something that will make our hometown better. However, when you are wishing, be careful of what you wish for.
Years ago, Jennie-O was considering Frazee as a site for another turkey plant. Looking at the labor force it would attract caused a friend of mine to ask, “Do we really want a turkey plant in town?”
I once was told that the Pelican Rapids schools have students speaking 27 different languages. This increases the education challenges for the teaching staff and adds to the expense for the schools, but exposes students to new cultures as they become friends.
My older brother Marvin, was mayor or city councilman for many years. He and I shared the same office for 30 years, so I overheard many conversations about people inquiring about locating a business in Frazee. The first thing was usually, “are there any local funds available as an incentive?” The next questions were usually about having a building available to move into and labor availability.
The most promising was a gentleman who wanted to start his food processing plant in the closed turkey plant. He was very enthusiastic over the phone about his new business and Frazee because of the water and sewer system. It was easy to share his enthusiasm.
A few weeks later, Marvin received a phone call from someone in Omaha, Neb. This person advised the city to check on the other person’s past (in Louisiana) before making any financial commitment. They did their due diligence and passed on the proposal from the promotor.
Frazee’s water quality, waste plant and lagoon ponds are a great attraction for a business that uses lots of water. I hated to see the underground water tank on the Swift property filled in. Years ago, I heard that Detroit Lakes had to expand their waste treatment plant and lagoons. Their need was because of the excess disposal from the turkey plant when the production was moved from Frazee to Detroit Lakes. Frazee had expanded their systems to accommodate the Frazee Turkey Plant, but now had excess capacity when the plant closed. We composed an offer from Frazee Mayor Marvin Daggett to Detroit Lakes Mayor Larry Buboltz, offering that Detroit Lakes could just pipe their excess sewage right down the median of Hwy 10 to the Frazee lagoons. There would be a disposal and pipeline charge, but in appreciation, we thought the Detroit Lakes City Council would probably want to rename their city, West Frazee.
Larry replied, “We lust after your lagoons,” but indebted Detroit Lakes to build their own lagoons and kept their name.