A motion was made on the transformation of the Polo’s building at city council on Tuesday night.
After gauging public interest last week, with help of the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, the St. James city council sided with the majority opinion, passing a motion to accept plans to construct a commercial shell in the front of the Polo’s property, with concrete pavement over a gravel base in the back of the lot for parking.
A total of 59 community members voiced their opinions last week, with 35 of those choosing a commercial shell as their top choice.
Two major themes were prevalent in the findings, which were an art & culture center and a business incubator.
The art & culture center would show different cultures from around the world to help boost tourism. These type of establishments do exist in other communities but further research would need to be done.
The business incubator would have rent based on sales to lower risk for entrepreneurs.
The space could also be used as a start-up location, then move to a permanent location elsewhere in the community.
Other ideas included an eBay drop off site or Facebook Marketplace.
The SWMHP also pledged “up to $25,000 for building repair as a one-to-one match to local funds,” said James Arentson, reading the official letter from SWMHP. “The loan is 100% forgivable provided that the project continues to move forward with inclusive community involvement.”
The estimated cost for the commercial shell is $41,212, including an extra $12,000 for the concrete over a gravel base, which costs more than the bituminous gravel but will require less repair and management.
There are bids already in place for roofing and storefront window ($24,326) & entrance door repairs ($9,086).
Masonry facade repair, transom window repair ($800), electrical ($4,000), and other work ($3,000) were also included in the budget for the transformation.