MOUND, Minn. (KMSP) - A plan to develop downtown Mound, Minnesota into a Minnetonka lakeshore destination is being replaced with plans for luxury townhomes, much to the criticism of some neighbors.
“We are trying to take advantage of some pieces that are ready to happen now—to create the energy and to create something to organize around,” said Mound City Manager Eric Hoversten.
But some residents worry the city is missing a grand opportunity.
“It’s a short-term tax gain for the city but a long-term loss for the community,” said resident Marc Doepner-Hove.
Hoversten said the city tried for many years to attract commercial development, including a destination lakeshore restaurant, but it never worked out.
“We’ve advertised for over a decade that we’re interested in that type of venue to come into our community,” he said. “It would be hard to convince somebody to come into Mound and build four walls of something new considering the amount of vacant commercial and real estate we have in the community right now.”
In the 1990s, taxpayers paid to pave a road down to Lost Lake and dredge a channel to Lake Minnetonka. At the time, residents were told it was the beginning of a long range plan for a large mixed-use lakeshore development.
In 2005, the city revisited the plan and even secured a developer. When the recession hit, the developer went bankrupt and the majority of the land has sat vacant ever since.
“Countless opportunities have presented themselves to us,” said Hoversten. “Some of them walked away from the table very quickly—just seem to not be a good fit for the character we’ve come to enjoy from the community.”
Jason Zattler, who owns an independent insurance brokerage, only steps from the proposed development, says the city should hold out for the right opportunity rather than settle for residential.
“That’s what the residents paid for, that’s what the residents asked for and they should get it,” said Zattler. “They had a 15-year plan and they’re not sticking to it.”