Chris Melberg, owner of Morris Floral in Morris, has agreed to meet privately with City Manager Blaine Hill to come up with an agreement about the future of his building. Melberg was present at the city council meeting on June 8 expressing some frustration and seeking advice about what to do in regard to the building.
The City of Morris has been in contact with Melberg about concerns for the safety of the public who might enter the building. They have asked Melberg to address the issue and let them know of his plans. Melberg stated that he has been working with Cheryl Kuhn of the Stevens County Economic Improvement Commission for several months about a proposal to move to a different location.
Melberg stated that the proposal was a swap of his property for the former Karate building next door to Bremer Bank. The suggestion was for him to operate his business downstairs and live upstairs. However, Melberg stated that the upstairs was extremely small, narrow and not conducive to living quarters. Therefore the proposal fell through.
“I feel like I have few options,” Melberg stated. “I need to find somebody I can talk to to get some advice. I want out of that building as much as you want me out.”
He added that he has started packing up some items in preparation to move but would like to find a new location for his business. He stated that he simply did not have the funds needed to demolish the building which could cost as much as $100,000 to $125,000.
“What can I do to get out of this situation?” he asked.
“We have a genuine concern for you and your business,” stated Mayor Sheldon Giese. “We also have a concern for the people entering it.”
“We are not in the business of putting people out of business,” stated Councilman Kevin Wohlers. “You are a very good botanist and good at what you do. It gets to the point where we need to make a decision to do something.”
Wohlers added that one way Melberg could get out of this was to allow the city to take over the property. The city could then apply for grants to demolish the building for economic improvement. Melberg could then purchase or rent another site for his business. He would also need to do the same for living quarters.
Councilman Jeff Miller praised Melberg for coming in and talking to the council face to face. That was a huge step toward making progress. “This was an invitation to sit down and negotiate,” Miller added.
After considerable discussion, it was decided to have Melberg meet privately with Hill to come up with a plan for the future of the building. Hill will then report back to the council when a decision has been made.
Following this discussion, the council heard a proposal from Joel Quam of Bremer Insurance for next year’s policy. The premium increased somewhat, mainly driven by Work Comp claims over the last few years. The premium of $366,099 was approved by the city council members.