Monticello City Council Highlights - July 26, 2021


July 26, 2021

EDA Annual Update

Economic Development Manager Jim Thares presented the annual Economic Development department update.

“The 2020-2021 workplans included six components: downtown redevelopment was the top goal or priority for the EDA. Promoting industrial and commercial development was the second priority, housing development was third. The IEDC’s priorities were labor force development and business retention and expansion. In 2020 the CARES Act came to the city and money was provided to the EDA and that’s where the COVID-19 emergency response efforts were established,” said Thares.

EDA ANNUAL UPDATE: Presentation intro slideHe then elaborated further explaining that Block 52 was the top priority of the Downtown Redevelopment work plan as well as the Façade Improvement Program. One highlight was that the façade improvements to the Agosto building were completed in late 2020, with three new applications submitted this spring/summer, all of which are on Block 35.

According to Thares, there were 38 EDA CARES Act grants approved for $5,000 each. Eight additional City CARES Act grants were also approved for restaurants and microbreweries in the community.

Riverfest Recap

Riverfest 2021 was a huge success according to Riverfest City Liaison Tom Pawelk.

“Overall, it was a good turnout. Second highest gross sales that the Riverfest committee has ever seen, so that’s pretty good. Record beer sales… and duck adoptions were basically sold out, so that’s 5,000 ducks sold,” said Pawelk.

The first night [Thursday] kicked off at Pioneer Park, with a Monticello firefighter showing up strong for a second year in a row and winning the pie eating contest. Mayor Hilgart teased that may only be because he’s “not invited back” to the pie eating contest after winning twice.

“Friday night, the talent show had 22 acts and we followed it up with a wonderful fireworks display, sponsored by the City of Monticello. The Lions Bean Bag tournament on Saturday had 49 entries,” said Pawelk.

Pawelk added that while Sunday’s parade was shorter than past years, with no royalty candidates or visiting royalty; the shorter parade might have been preferable given the heat. He joked that the kids didn’t seem to mind because they still got plenty of candy.

Online Building Permits

City of Monticello is now offering online building permits for permits that do not require a plan review. Visit our website to check it out! 

Council Approval

  • Council approved Special Event Permit
    • City Council approved a Special Event Permit and temporary liquor license for the Rotary’s Taste of the Towns event. The event will be held on Thursday, September 16 in the commuter lot on Deegan Ave. 

  • Council approved new restrooms for Ellison Park
    • City Council approved the purchase of modular restrooms to replace the existing restrooms at Ellison Park. The project will also include ADA improvements in the area around the bathroom.
  • Council approved proceeding with bids for DMV relocation
    • City Council approved notifying the State of Minnesota of intent to move the DMV from its current location to the Prairie Center building at 118 W. 6th Street. Council also approved proceeding with bids for the improvements necessary to remodel the first floor of the building for the DMV. City Council will consider officially ordering the improvements at a future meeting.


Citizens are welcome to attend City Council, Planning Commission, and Economic Development Authority meetings, but we understand that attending in person is not always an option. As an alternative, we offer the following options to stay engaged with your local government:

  • Meetings are broadcast live on cable channel 12 (FiberNet and TDS subscribers) or channel 180 (Charter subscribers).
  • Meetings are streamed live online. View the live stream on the Monticello Live Stream website.
  • Meetings recordings are available online to watch when it's convenient for you. View the meeting recordings on the Monticello Live Stream website.
  • Meetings are rebroadcast throughout the week on cable channel 12 (FiberNet & TDS subscribers) or channel 180 (Charter subscribers).


Sep 20

[ARCHIVED] Press Release: Block 52 Groundbreaking in Downtown Monticello

The original item was published from September 20, 2022 3:07 PM to September 28, 2023 11:06 AM

DATE:           September 20, 2022

                      For Immediate Release

CONTACT:  Rachel Leonard

                      (763) 295-2711 |

Private Developer Closes on Block 52 Purchase, Hosts Celebratory Groundbreaking in Downtown Monticello

Monticello, MN – We had two exciting milestones for Downtown Monticello this week: on Monday, Sept. 19, 2022 Block 52 Holdings, LLC., Buchholz Exchange, LLC., and Norgren Exchange, LLC., closed on the purchase of a portion of Monticello’s Block 52. Shortly thereafter, a crowd gathered for a groundbreaking event on the project, referred to as Block 52 First Addition. The project will be a mixed-use development that will start construction this fall. The commercial and residential project is being developed by Buchholz Development (also known as Block 52 Holdings, LLC.). The project will feature 87 new residential units and over 30,000 square feet of commercial space, including a new restaurant and patio.

Block 52 is the city block at the northwest corner of the Broadway and Pine Street (TH25) intersection. It’s located in the heart of downtown and one of the most visible spots in the city, with over 37,000 vehicles traveling through the intersection each day.

Block 52 Groundbreaking 2022A Brief History of Block 52

The groundbreaking and land purchase marks a monumental turning point in the project, one that was overseen by dozens of staff members, city council and EDA members over the past two decades.

The EDA first acquired property from willing sellers on Block 52 in 1996. A single parcel was purchased with the hope that land assembly would continue and allow for a meaningful redevelopment proposal. There was a long period of waiting for willing sellers after that purchase. In late 2017, two property owners expressed an interest in selling to the EDA. After negotiating and reaching an agreement, the EDA purchased 103 Pine and 112 West River in early 2018. Those purchases were followed by the acquisition of three properties, 101, 107 and 121 West Broadway, in late 2020. The final property within Block 52 First Addition, 113 West Broadway, was acquired by the EDA in late 2021. This purchase gave the EDA and City site control of contiguous land area totaling 83 percent of the block. The time from initial to final purchase was about 25 years.

Following the purchase of the two properties in 2018, the EDA was optimistic that a meaningful redevelopment could occur in the block and started to discuss concepts with numerous developers. That process occurred over 6 months in early 2019. Then COVID brought much of the world, including development, to a halt for 15 months. Finally, the efforts regained significant momentum upon the EDA and Deephaven Development (Buchholz Development), entering into a preliminary development agreement in June 2021. From that moment forward, all parties worked together to bring forward a dynamic, catalytic development proposal that will have an impact in revitalizing the core downtown of Monticello.

Upcoming Projects in the Downtown

Downtown is the birthplace of our city and the focus of civic activity. The City of Monticello’s Downtown Small Area Plan was adopted in 2017 and builds off those foundational qualities with a clear vision for the future of the core blocks Downtown. The groundbreaking on Block 52 is a significant step toward the signature development called for in the Downtown Small Area Plan.

In addition to the private development happening on Block 52, the City of Monticello is continuing its effort to improve Downtown for visitors, businesses, and residents by revitalizing both new and existing spaces. The Downtown Roadway and Pedestrian Improvements project is scheduled to begin next summer. This project will include improvements to Walnut Street between Broadway and River Street, River Street between Walnut Street and Pine Street and Broadway, between Pine Street and Walnut Street. It will also include connecting Walnut Street to River Street, roadway, sidewalk, and utility improvements, as well as improved signage, lighting, and landscaping. The improvements will make a more inviting and safe environment for everyone who uses the area.

We’d like to acknowledge the hard work and dedication the EDA and City Council have put into the Block 52 project and our Downtown Small Area Plan over the years. Their vision and commitment to the project coupled with staff’s effort to execute the process has allowed an idea to come to life. Downtown Monticello, both past and present, will continue to be a distinct space bringing people together as a community.