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Kwik Trip selects Ramer lot as potential location

October 12, 2006

Main Street River Falls has a small town appeal. Small, family-owned businesses and privately-owned bars fill the strip with a sense of home and community. It seems, though, that something is missing. Perhaps it needs another gas station?

While the final talks are still in their infancy, some time in the future Kwik Trip will be built on Main Street.

Kwik Trip representatives came to River Falls more than a year ago, looking for a plot of land to build a convenience store.

“They were looking at a site on the corner of Spruce and Spring [Streets], behind Swedes,” said City Planner Dena Mleziva. “That site didn’t work out because there is a well near that site and it could be possible for the water to become tainted with gasoline if they were to build that close to it.”

Kwik Trip went on to search for a better place to set up shop and found it on the south end of town. The company found a site right across from Dick’s Plus, next to Knowles on South Main Street.

The plot of land was bought from Hise Excavating, a business located next to the Ramer Field parking lot for many years. Though Kwik Trip owns the lot now, a series of steps need to be taken before the building can actually be erected.

“Kwik Trip needs to have the property rezoned to B3 highway commercial,” Mleziva said. “There are parts of it that are already zoned for commercial use, but other parts are not.”

Doing the rezoning alone is a long process, including petitions to nearby property owners, making sure the land is fit for building a gas station, review by the Planning Commission and a City Council meeting. Before setting the wheels into motion, Kwik Trip had another idea.

Last fall, the company came to UW-River Falls and asked for a trade to be considered. The trade would entail UW-RF trading part of the Ramer Field parking lot for a plot of land that Kwik Trip bought from Hise Excavating. Though it seems as if both parties want the trade, a long process still needs to be completed before anything can be seen as final.

“There is a series of 10 to 15 steps that need to be taken, and we are on step two of the process,” said Campus Planner Dale Braun.

Although the process may be long and tedious, Braun is confident the trade is a good thing.

“It’s clear that both Kwik Trip and the University want this trade to happen, Braun said. “It is best for Kwik Trip and best for the University.”

Though it may be best for the University, not all students agree another gas station is needed in River Falls.

“I don’t think that we need another gas station unless it’s gonna be cheaper,” senior Lindsey Mace said.

Senior B.J. Leroy agrees.

“I’d rather have a Taco Bell or a Chipotle,” Leroy said.

Junior Jesse Ostertag sees it as detrimental to his health.

“I don’t like it because it’s another place to stop and eat and get fat,” Ostertag said.

On the other hand, some students said it will be a welcomed addition to River Falls.

“It’s good because it is going to bring something more to the economy,” junior Nate Anderson said.

Others are looking forward to the fine dining options offered by Kwik Trip.

“I’m excited for the slushies,” senior Jeremy Wolff said.

Regardless of what the students think, if this trade happens, Kwik Trip will make a part of the Ramer Field’s parking lot into a gas station, and the University will use the site of land to produce more parking for Knowles, Hunt Arena and Ramer Field.