When I ran for mayor in November of 2015, one of the goals I had set for our community was to create an opportunity to encourage new businesses and industry to come to Britt. I was fortunate in that our City Council shared the same vision. Now, nearly two years later, we are starting to see that dream become a reality – work on a new commercial development will begin this fall.
The Burgardt Commercial Park will be located on the northeast edge of town, situated between Highway 18 and Diagonal Street. The land for the project was purchased in two parcels; the first being the former hotel property from the May’s, and the second being agricultural acres from Connie Burgardt – who was also kind enough to gift a portion of the ground to the city. The park will feature nine commercial lots ranging in size from half an acre to one and three quarters acres, providing a variety of sizes and options for potential buyers. A new road will be constructed to give street access to the development and will connect to both Highway 18 and Main Street. The access to Highway 18 will be located where the driveway to the hotel property and Pritchard’s Auto sits today, and the connection to Main Street will be between the Zadow Trucking building and Heartland Diner.
While projects of this magnitude can be expensive, we have been diligent in keeping costs for the project at a very reasonable level. Both properties were purchased in 2016 for a total cost of $208,792. Development and infrastructure costs are estimated at $850,000 – bids will be opened on September 19th. Earlier this year the council passed a general obligation bond to help cover these expenses. We are confident that as lots are sold, and businesses go up, the tax income for the City will more than recoup the expense – though this will take some time.
Our hope for the Burgardt Commercial Park is that it provides an option for new businesses to build in Britt and to give existing businesses a place to expand or relocate. Several surrounding communities have industrial and/or commercial park developments and are being quite successful in selling their lots and attracting new economic development opportunities. We feel our park will offer a unique feature with Highway 18 frontage and direct access to one of the busiest highways in the state.
We have been working closely with BIDCO (Britt Industrial Development Corporation) on the planning and development of this project, and Eric Newton has put in considerable amount of time in thinking about the marketing and sale of these future lots. There has already been interest expressed by more than one party, and as the groundwork begins, you’ll soon see signage advertising the layout and availability of each lot.
Not only will this be a wonderful addition to the City of Britt, and a great location for future commercial businesses in North Central Iowa – it is vital to Britt’s future and growth. We must remain competitive with our surrounding neighbors if we expect to attract people to this incredible community.