Propane company eyes RC industrial park; resident thanks RCFD

The Rush City Fire Department assisted Cambridge Fire with using fire trucks to display the American flag at the March 3 deployment ceremony at Cambridge-Isanti High School. It was a huge honor, an impressive sight for the soldiers and their families, along with the fire departments involved, said Rush City Fire Chief Bob Carlson. Below, area resident Mary McElrath addresses the display through a letter to the city of Rush City. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The Rush City Fire Department assisted Cambridge Fire with using fire trucks to display the American flag at the March 3 deployment ceremony at Cambridge-Isanti High School. It was a huge honor, an impressive sight for the soldiers and their families, along with the fire departments involved, said Rush City Fire Chief Bob Carlson. Below, area resident Mary McElrath addresses the display through a letter to the city of Rush City. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The Rush City Council March 11 proposed a counteroffer to a Minneapolis company that is wanting to buy a portion of land in the city’s industrial park.

For the past few months, City Administrator Amy Mell has been providing updates on a potential land sale with Interstate Energy Partners, which is looking at opening a propane transfer station with rail spur.

At its previous meeting, the council closed the meeting to negotiate the matter. The council agreed to have only councilors Bob Oscarson and Al Hoffman sit on a negotiations committee. Afterward, Mell noted, the company proposed an offer: $3,000 per acre for 35 out of the 75 acres of available land in the industrial park. On March 11, the council posed a counteroffer of $8,000 per acre for 20 acres of industrial park land. The counter, in part, reflects costs associated with extending Field Avenue and allowing a different configuration of landscape to accommodate the company’s plan.

The company wants a spur, but it didn’t want Field Avenue to go through its property and spur area, said Mell, noting this is a problematic for the city. The city’s counter also reflects road and sewer construction, which would result from allowing the configuration. Plus there are wetlands in the area, which could mean more costs if they are disturbed, Mell noted.

The city administrator said another potential problem with the company’s business plan is it only calls for one to two new employees on site, and there won’t be much of an impact on the city’s tax base as far as property tax return.

And because Interstate Energy Partners will be transporting materials deemed hazardous by train and truck, the spur it plans on using would only serve the plant.

In addition, the industrial park currently allows for light industry, such as warehousing and manufacturing operations, while the company is considered heavy industrial with noise and other factors having an impact beyond its individual property.

On April 1, the Rush City Planning Commission will hold a public hearing to consider creating a new zone in the industrial park that would allow heavy industrial businesses by conditional use permit. If approved, the council could ultimately act on a location for that zone, Mell explained.

As it stands now, Interstate Energy Partners is considering the city’s counteroffer, though the company has yet to contact the city about a decision or next move.

Interstate Energy Partners, LLC operates in the trading, marketing and consulting of silica sand, propane and butane. The company also owns and operates sand sites, as well as markets silica sand to property owners. It specializes in rail, trucking and barge logistics. The company was founded in 2010 and is based in Minneapolis.

A member of the 850th, Dariane Streit, 19, of Braham, receives a tight hug from mother Laurie Hilgers at the deployment sendoff March 6 at the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Cambridge. The soldier is the granddaughter of Mary McElrath, who thanked via letter the Rush City Fire Department for its participation in the deployment ceremony. Photo by Jon Tatting

A member of the 850th, Dariane Streit, 19, of Braham, receives a tight hug from mother Laurie Hilgers at the deployment sendoff March 6 at the Armed Forces Readiness Center in Cambridge. The soldier is the granddaughter of Mary McElrath, who thanked via letter the Rush City Fire Department for its participation in the deployment ceremony. Photo by Jon Tatting

Fire department thanked

Area resident Mary McElrath was pleasantly surprised to see the Rush City Fire Department and the American flag it helped display with one of its fire trucks at the March 3 deployment ceremony for the Minnesota National Guard 850th Horizontal Engineer Company in Cambridge.

Days later, the company’s 149 soldiers left during an emotional send-off for training at Ft. Bliss, Texas, in preparation for a one-year deployment to Afghanistan.

McElrath wrote to the city of Rush City:

“I want you to know that yesterday at the deployment my first tears came when I saw the huge flag. It meant more than you will ever know. I was so lost with emotion that I did not pay attention to who the fire departments were. I found out (later) that Rush City was one of them. It meant so much to know that it was you guys. How many towns would step up and do such a wonderful thing? No surprise to me that it was the good old, small-town Rush City crew. Tears even came to my 83-year-old dad, who is legally blind. He is so proud of (Dariane Streit, 19, of Braham).

“Just please know and pass on to the others how much that meant to my family. Thank you so much for honoring my most precious granddaughter. I have been struggling with her leaving. I feel like no one else knows how much it hurts. You guys stepping out of your homes on a Sunday to do this lets me know how much you care and respect our soldiers. It helped a lot. I will forever be grateful.”

  • T.J.

    Thanks City Administrator Amy Mell,,, A business comes to Rush City looking to grow itself, and you get greedy and chase them out. Also you come up with every excuse possible to NOT have them locate in you Industrial Park.
    Good job, lets watch as Rush City continues to die.

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