Isanti to be the new home of SnoBear USA

Katie Krier
Isanti County News

The city of Isanti will soon be home to SnoBear USA LLP.

During the Isanti City Council meeting July 7, the council approved a subsidy for SnoBear or the developer for the project, or both, that will relocate the existing company from Fargo, North Dakota, to Isanti.

SnoBear is a winter social recreational vehicle for the ice. The design allows for ice fishing in a T-shirt at 40 degrees below zero in total comfort, according to the SnoBear website. For added safety, the tracks distribute the weight of the vehicle to less than 1 pound per square inch, company information said.

This is “going to be a really great positive for our community,” said Isanti Mayor George Wimmer, who also noted “wonderful jobs are going to be coming from this project.”

The project involves the purchase of a 42,000-square-foot building and real estate in the industrial park, located at 1 Enterprise Ave. NE, as well as construction of a new 12,000-square-foot building. The new construction is estimated to have a tax assessed market value of $650,000 to $800,000, which would generate approximately $30,000 in annual taxes starting in 2017.

The project will also create 25 jobs on-site with a minimum wage of $12.75 per hour within two years of execution of the development agreement, according to the resolution approved by the city of Isanti.

Wimmer explained in August 2015, SnoBear will begin production in the building they are purchasing in the industrial park. They will begin construction on their new building in the spring of 2016.

When asked for an explanation of funding for the project, Wimmer explained the project is funded through the Minnesota Investment Loan City Revolving Loan Fund. These funds are restrictive on how they are used. With the Loan Fund, the state funds that the city receives allow for the city to retain a portion of the funds.

“This is a nice way to leverage funds on these types of project,” Wimmer said.

In other news, the council:

• Approved a request for the Cambridge-Isanti Soccer Club to host the State Qualifying Championship at the Isanti Soccer Complex July 11-16 from 8 a.m. until dark. The expected attendance is 4,000 people.

• Approved the reorganization of the management of the Public Works and Parks departments in light of the resignation of the public works director. The council also approved filling a newly created public services director position by appointing Josi Wood, who was the current community events manager and parks coordinator. The city anticipates filling the public works foreman position in-house, and will also need to hire a part-time community events and parks coordinator.

Wimmer noted the financial impact of the reorganization will save the city approximately $50,000.

“We have an opportunity to move to the next phase of our organization,” Wimmer said. “As we continue to grow we’ll be departmentalizing the Public Works Department.”