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For now, no Menards expansion in Cottage Grove

An expansion to the Menards lumber yard was denied by the City Council July 18, though the company may try to work on a new solution with city staff. Courtesy of the city of Cottage Grove

City Council denied Menards an expansion due to site constraints, but the company and city staff could still work to find a solution.

Menards applied to construct a new 44,000-square-foot open-air storage building on the southeast end of the lot, next to the parking lot to store lumber and construction and landscaping materials.

Rodney Wekkin, representative with Menards, said Menards is doing these expansions "to provide better guest service, better guest satisfaction." The modifications also help match their online shopping model, which is one of the biggest growing parts of the corporate business.

Storage is currently behind the store. Some would stay in that location, but would expand the amount of materials on site with the new building.

The expansion would also eliminate 40 parking spaces, decreasing the lot to about 360 stalls.

Wekkin said the expansion typically takes an 18-to-20-acre site. The Cottage Grove store is on a 15-acre site. "I am very concerned with having that building as it's laid out today in front of the building," Mayor Myron Bailey said. "I just think we're trying to squeeze too much on this one spot."

City Council members also expressed trepidation to approve the expansion, because it would impact the look of the commercial area on the Highway 61.

"If you're traveling southbound, you're going to be looking right into the guts of that building," Council Member Steve Dennis said. "And from my perspective, that would be taking us backward in terms of what we've tried to achieve with other design elements for that particular area."

City Council voted 5-0 to deny the expansion.

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