Anoka looking to buy land from state for new facility

by Mandy Moran Froemming
Union Editor

The city of Anoka hopes to purchase a piece of land from the state near Seventh Avenue and Garfield Street.

The city is interested in the parcel, which is located behind the Metro Transit Park and Ride on Seventh Avenue, as the possible site of a relocated public services and electric utilities facility.

Currently these operations are based near the Northstar Commuter Rail station.

According to City Manager Tim Cruikshank, the state is willing to sell eight acres of the 12-acre parcel the city was interested in acquiring.

The parcel is located just south of the Anoka-Metro Regional Treatment Center and borders the Anoka County Human Services Rum River Campus. According to conditions being set out by the state, the city would be restricted to use this property as a public works facility only.

The state is asking $436,000 for the eight-acre parcel, according to information provided Cruikshank from Wayne Waslaski, senior director of real estate and construction services for the state of Minnesota.

The city is planning to make a counter-offer on the land, said Cruikshank.

While acquiring the land is a priority for the city this year, at this point there is no specific plan or timeline for building a new city facility, he said.

But it does appear in the city’s long-term financial plan, Cruikshank said.

“Development around the rail station will drive the timing,” he said.

By moving the public services and electric utility operations, it would open up the six acres currently being used near the rail station for private development.

Cruikshank also said this plays into one of the city’s top priorities – getting non-taxable property back on the tax rolls.

Lately the city has had success with this goal – specifically with the sale of publicly owned property to the Volunteers of America for its new senior housing community as well as the upcoming HealthPartners purchase of the Castle Field site.

While the city had hoped to purchase the entire 12-acre parcel, at this time the state plans to retain the eastern portion of the property, which fronts Seventh Avenue.

Cruikshank said the city is hopeful the state sells this land for a use that will generate tax dollars in the future.

This would be the city’s intention if it were to acquire those remaining acres, he said.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at [email protected]