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Developments bringing promising signs to North Iowa

Starboard Square is the latest in a series of developments to the Courtway Park site at I-35 & Iowa Highway 122

Posted: Apr 20, 2021 1:37 AM
Updated: Apr 20, 2021 6:13 AM

CLEAR LAKE, Iowa - What was once the site of a pre-stressed concrete facility is transforming into a commercial hotspot.

Progress is moving along in the Courtway Park development on the northeast corner of I-35 and Iowa Highway 122. While the combined Marriott Hotel and Event Center is under construction and is expected to be completed by the end of the summer, as well as an Old Dominion facility slated to be built on the north side of the site, a new retail development called Starboard Square is taking shape next to the Marriott.

City council approved a development agreement with Momberg Land during their Monday night meeting. It would provide tax rebates over a 7-year period, providing money for infrastructure, and a professional service fee.

City council member Bennett Smith says momentum in the community is high with the project, and points to several key benefits the city has when it comes to attracting developers.

"We have high quality of life, low taxes, attractive amenities. We're going to have a brand new wellness center coming on line later this year. We have a lot of quality of life advantages and some very good stories we can tell."

While tax increment financing, or TIF, has been a controversial issue (and with some legislation slated to be discussed in Des Moines in House File 849), Smith believes TIF incentives are vital to development projects like these, particularly in rural areas.

"We use it in a very prudent way in Clear Lake. We've been very successful with it, and this is another example of that with Starboard Square."

Chad Schreck with North Iowa Corridor EDC believes the redevelopment along a key travel corridor is vital to attract visitors and potentially interested developers and businesses.

"Entry points in your community are so important. You want to make sure that people have a positive impression of your community."

As we return to some sense of normalcy, Schreck says a strong sense of community, strong work ethic and workforce, and a low unemployment rate may entice developers and businesses to the region.

"Even though we have that low unemployment, we don't have a ton of people, we have great people, and we've got people with skill sets that fit a lot of these jobs. Whether its high tech, manufacturing, retail or restaurants, people here are positive and supportive of their business. Even during COVID, we saw the stability that we have to offer in more rural communities like ours. We didn't have major ups and downs like other areas might, and that's been really encouraging and positive for us."

That stability is translating into calls from interested parties.

"The things they're looking for, the questions they're asking. They really appreciate that low cost of life and low cost of business, we don't have those swings."

Scheck says there are other development projects in the works, including the auctioning off of the former Shopko building, as well as some discussions regarding the former Sears space, and shovel ready sites in the south Mason City industrial park along the Avenue of the Saints.

Clear Lake Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Stacy Doughan sent this statement regarding the Starboard Square development:

"The Starboard Square Commercial Development is another great project that speaks to the vibrancy of our region. Throughout the last year, we’ve seen projects continue to move forward when other regions saw projects stalled or cancelled. It’s no surprise that a retail project popped up so close to the new Marriott hotel."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 591445

Reported Deaths: 7367
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1224421730
Ramsey51212875
Dakota45791452
Anoka41604438
Washington26834283
Stearns22196222
St. Louis17734303
Scott17244124
Wright16009139
Olmsted1322598
Sherburne1167187
Carver1047545
Clay814492
Rice8037107
Blue Earth749641
Crow Wing663189
Kandiyohi654283
Chisago596651
Otter Tail574078
Benton568297
Goodhue477272
Douglas466375
Mower464832
Winona453950
Itasca435556
McLeod422559
Isanti419664
Morrison418260
Nobles407648
Beltrami394459
Steele386715
Polk383568
Becker379751
Lyon360251
Carlton345054
Freeborn341529
Pine327822
Nicollet325643
Brown305040
Mille Lacs303253
Le Sueur290922
Todd281632
Cass271328
Meeker255740
Waseca235922
Martin230531
Roseau209019
Wabasha20513
Hubbard188341
Dodge18453
Renville179743
Redwood174037
Houston171616
Cottonwood164821
Fillmore155910
Wadena155922
Pennington153619
Chippewa152138
Faribault152119
Kanabec144326
Sibley143110
Aitkin134736
Watonwan13219
Rock128119
Jackson121712
Pipestone115426
Yellow Medicine114120
Pope11006
Murray10619
Swift105218
Stevens90411
Marshall88117
Clearwater86616
Koochiching82715
Wilkin81112
Lake80919
Lac qui Parle75222
Big Stone6004
Lincoln5813
Grant5748
Mahnomen5469
Norman5399
Unassigned48993
Kittson48622
Red Lake3957
Traverse3695
Lake of the Woods3243
Cook1620

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 366827

Reported Deaths: 5937
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk57596625
Linn20845335
Scott20025241
Black Hawk15803308
Woodbury15128228
Johnson1447483
Dubuque13368208
Dallas1117898
Pottawattamie11113168
Story1061248
Warren577088
Clinton555593
Cerro Gordo539789
Sioux514474
Webster512393
Marshall482975
Muscatine480799
Des Moines455766
Wapello4299122
Buena Vista424540
Jasper418872
Plymouth401180
Lee375755
Marion362575
Jones298957
Henry291637
Carroll285752
Bremer284360
Crawford266440
Boone264534
Benton256455
Washington254150
Dickinson248343
Mahaska230351
Jackson221742
Clay215525
Kossuth215364
Delaware209541
Tama209571
Winneshiek196834
Page192622
Buchanan191232
Cedar190023
Hardin185243
Fayette185041
Wright184637
Hamilton179849
Harrison179573
Clayton169456
Butler164934
Mills162322
Madison162219
Floyd160542
Cherokee158738
Lyon157941
Poweshiek154734
Allamakee151551
Iowa148724
Hancock147834
Winnebago142431
Cass138554
Calhoun138413
Grundy136333
Emmet134140
Jefferson132335
Shelby131037
Sac130319
Union128333
Louisa128049
Appanoose127949
Mitchell126342
Chickasaw124015
Guthrie121530
Franklin120021
Humboldt119126
Palo Alto112723
Howard104622
Montgomery103338
Clarke100124
Unassigned9710
Keokuk95831
Monroe95229
Ida90535
Adair86532
Pocahontas85522
Davis82924
Monona82830
Osceola78616
Greene77610
Lucas77323
Worth7478
Taylor65812
Fremont6229
Decatur6089
Van Buren55818
Ringgold55624
Wayne53923
Audubon51010
Adams3384
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