Meeting as the EDA board of directors for the first time since July 28, 2020 were Mayor Ryan Leckner and the members of the Park Rapids City Council.
City Administrator Angel Weasner and Mary Thompson, executive director of the Heartland Lakes Development Commission, presented information about the loan request by owner Karen Acker with Wine Not? LLC.
Thompson said Acker wants to open a wine bar and retail location to sell wine-making kits and supplies. She also hopes to offer classes on wine-making and provide space for other types of classes. Some food that pairs with wine, such as meat and cheese, would also be available.
Thompson said Acker has obtained financing approval from Citizens National Bank to buy the Moose Creek building at 110 4th St. W. Acker also owns Itasca Tours.
According to draft minutes of the meeting, there was a consensus of EDA board members that the business idea is a worthwhile risk and that it jives with the aim of the revolving loan fund (RLF), to bring new businesses to the downtown area.
Responding to board members’ questions, Thompson said Acker will also be able to sell beer as part of her on-sale license. Asked about the difference between Acker’s liquor license and the licenses for craft breweries, Thompson said Acker will not sell the wine she makes.
Besides wine-making classes, Thompson said Acker could offer classes on “creative creations,” like scrapbooking. She added that it would be a year-round business.
Board member Tom Conway moved to approve the loan request at a 4.25 percent interest rate, and the motion passed unanimously.
Later, Conway made a motion to set the interest rate for the loan at one point below the prime rate, which was currently 3.25 percent. This motion also passed unanimously.
According to Weasner, the final interest rate will be known only upon signing the loan agreement.
In further discussion, Thompson sought clarification of the city’s RLF policies, such as whether or not to extend eligibility of RLF loans outside city limits, their applicability to non-profits and government entities, specifically encouraging their use to enhance buildings’ energy efficiency or accessibility to people with disabilities, issues relating to annexing property into the city, handling loan modification requests, maintaining separate RLF accounts for both the city and the HLDC, requiring a quarterly report to the EDA board about the revolving loan fund and streamlining loan application forms.
It was agreed that Thompson would bring the updated policies to the city council for approval.