Photo by Robert Williams
The construction at Altona Square is a distinctive sign of incoming new businesses to Vergas. Wednesday’s EDA/HRA meeting highlighted the need to aid those new businesses and the importance of retaining businesses already established in Vergas.

By Robert Williams


Finding ways to assist local businesses was the main topic of discussion at the Vergas Economic Development Authority (EDA)/Housing Redevelopment Authority (HRA) meeting onWednesday, April 6.

Secretary-Treasurer Julie Lammers reported on attending the February Ehlers’ 2022 Minnesota Public Finance Seminar in Brooklyn Center. Lammers stated the seminar stressed one of the biggest hurdles to local businesses is staffing.

Lammers proposed developing a survey for Vergas businesses to ask about situations with employees and get feedback on how the EDA can assist. 

The Vergas business community is growing and filling nearly all the presently allotted business space in town with only one rental property available and currently none for sale.

‘The biggest problem businesses have right now is finding employees,” said Lammers. “We learned about different things we can do for businesses that definitely don’t cost the taxpayers.”

Potential options are classes on training employees and helping business owners come together to assist matching employees to businesses. 

Lammers reiterated wanting to find a way to relieve businesses of training and relative costs without pushing it on to the taxpayers.

Vice President Bruce Albright discussed a potential future job fair and also the need for housing for new employees working in town. 

Aside from the discussions to help new businesses coming to Vergas, Albright also stressed the importance of assisting current business owners into the future.

“We cannot lose sight that we have existing businesses,” he said. “We need to go door-to-door to make sure they stay here.”

The board approved moving quickly with a survey to garner the interest of local business owners and determine the relevance of how to move forward based on that feedback.

“We need to do it quickly with the summer business season approaching.”

Bruce Albright, Vice President of Vergas EDA

Plan review fee structures to be explored

The board discussed engineering plan review fees considering the uptick in housing development happening in Vergas. 

EDA and the planning commission are discussing how to move forward in working with engineering companies, developers and the city.

EDA president Kevin Zitzow discussed the idea of a deposit that would be returned if a project was completed while discussing the current conditions. 

Before any change or decision is made, EDA approved taking the first step of contacting surrounding towns to see what they use to assist formulating a plan on any changes to future fee structures.

West Lake Street property officially sold

The sale of the West Lake Street property was confirmed to start Wednesday’s meeting. The 16-acre parcel, of which 10 acres are usable, was sold to business owner Josh Hanson.

Hanson has been working with the city council and the EDA since September to complete the deal where he plans a residential development on 37 acres, including land he had already purchased adjacent to the property.

Construction permit fees waived

Construction permit fees were waived at two locations, Cheryl Lynn Jewelry at 110 S. Railway Ave., and the city office at 111 Main St. Both projects were for the building of walls. 

The construction permit fee is $25 per $10,000 of value, and is required for most home improvement projects and all commercial work.