Manufacturer coming to Columbus

Westmor Fluid Solutions will move 60 positions to new facility

Paul Rignell
Columbus Reporter

A significant manufacturer has chosen Columbus for the site of a new plant. The Columbus City Council on Oct. 9 granted a conditional use permit for Westmor Fluid Solutions, based in Morris, to build a 40,000-square-foot project on West Freeway Drive so the company can move its north metro operations before a projected expansion.

Mark Kragenbring, operations manager for Westmor’s field services division, told the Forest Lake Times that the company hopes to break ground late this month and open the new facility next May.

Manufacturing fuel tankers, fuel carts and skids for use in a number of industries, Westmor initially would be transferring all 60 positions from an existing plant on Central Avenue in Fridley.

“The intent is to expand our staff with new hires as we continue to grow the business,” Kragenbring said.

He added that the company appreciates the new site’s proximity to Interstate 35 for the receiving of raw materials and shipment of new product, plus Westmor believes it will benefit from a strong, local labor force at just the right time, he said.

The new campus will be built in the Ziegler addition, zoned for light industrial business, and feature a manufacturing plant of around 25,000 square feet plus an attached office building (8,222 square feet), a three-sided test station where employees would check finished tanks and carts for leaks, and a parking garage.

All manufacturing will be contained to one shift, with general hours of operation 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.

ATV ordinance

Council members directed staff to draft an ordinance that would regulate the use of all-terrain vehicles and golf carts on city streets. Denny Peterson advised others on the council that they should expand their code to cover utility vehicles, which he said are commonly also known as “side-by-sides.”

Peterson and his colleagues reviewed an ordinance governing ATV and golf cart usage in Ham Lake, as an example and means for discussion at the Oct. 9 meeting.

The Ham Lake code requires ATV users to be at least 16 years of age and hold a valid Minnesota driver’s license in order to drive on city streets.

Any ATV operator or passenger under age 18 must wear a safety helmet that the state has certified for motorcycle use.

Operators must take their vehicles only for travel on city streets and not engage in stunt or exhibition driving off of private property. They are limited to maximum speeds of 20 mph, and the drivers must follow other traffic laws that regulate all motorists.

On ATVs that are not equipped with turn signals, operators are required to motion turns with their arms.

Riding on streets is expected to be restricted to between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. in Columbus, where the officials will receive a draft ordinance for a vote later this fall.