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Albert Lea man buys old turkey barns; City chips in $50,000 for cleanup, site prep

Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson

The city of Luverne is investing $50,000 in a local land annexation and demolition project to help replace blighted property with an operable new business.
An Albert Lea truck trailer business owner, Darv Habben, recently purchased the 3-acre parcel south of I-90 on the east side of Highway 75 from Greg Gabrielson, who used to operate turkey barns there.
The city will provide up to $50,000 for demolition and site preparation to develop the property, which will feature a sales building and trailers for sale parked in the lot.
The work is scheduled for completion in the 2015 construction season.
According to City Administrator John Call, the business, Crossroads Trailer Sales and Service, will likely have only one employee and won’t generate a notable amount of property taxes, but the idea was to encourage progress.
“We wanted to provide some incentive to make this work, but the biggest incentive for the city was to eliminate blight,” Call said.
“We’ll have a whole new look on South Highway 75 after this year, and you go over the interstate and look at this.”
Call said the dilapidated buildings are now used to store hay, and the 3-acre parcel was generating only $8 per year in property taxes for Luverne Township.
On the agenda at Tuesday night’s Luverne City Council meeting was a resolution for orderly annexation of the land so it can be served by city utilities and services.
The city of Luverne and Luverne Township had previously worked on an agreement in which the city will pay the township a lump sum of $40 or five years of tax revenue.
Call said the city’s boundary line is ragged on the south edge of town, because at one time, some property owners paid assessments to become part of the city to access to city water and sewer services. But some property owners decided not to annex, and that’s why the boundary line zigzags.
Call said it won’t be difficult to connect the Crossroads Trucking property to city services, because its neighbor to the south, Busse Plumbing and Heating, is already in city limits.
Also on Tuesday night’s agenda was the annexation of a half-acre sliver of property between the Busse and Crossroads property.
Jim and Stacie Busse, who own the parcel, had requested it be annexed along with the Crossroads piece.

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