Archives for April 2012

Spring Valley EDA Assists Expansion; Works with Fillmore County EDA

Spring Valley MN

Article by Cathy Enerson

Spring Valley continues to celebrate expansion!  The EDA worked with Marzolf Implements to introduce several programs that assisted with the expansion of their service center and dealership.  After a partial roof calapse from snow, an opportunity to expand surfaced.  This opporutnity allows Marzolf’s to meet current and future needs of their customers.

The EDA also collaborated with the city’s electrical provider and Fillmore County EDA to provide funding tools.  A USDA technical assistance grant was used to help an expansion for REKK (a land holding company for a local business located in the industrial park).  The operating business located on REKK’s property manufactures products that improve energy efficiency and their products are distributed throughout the United States. The expansion will be completed early this fall.

While the industrial park remains an area of great importance to develop, community members are working together organized by the EDA, to revitalize the downtown commercial district. The EDA is currently developing funding sources and seeking professional services to guide the community through a reinvention and revitalization of the downtown.

In further collaboration with Fillmore County, the EDA provided revolving loan fund dollars to the Root River County Club. Although not in city limits, city officials felt that assisting the country club would greatly benefit the city.  Through Fillmore County EDA, the Spring Valley EDA was able to assist Dennis Langreck with the purchase and expansion of the country club.

The county and the city EDA also collaborated to seek funds to provide for additional succession planning services in Fillmore County.  The succession planning program was created in Spring Valley, but it was such a beneficial program that the city wanted to expand the program. By widening the area of service to all of Fillmore County, the city hoped to be more succesfull with their grant application.

Preston’s National Trout Center Keeps Growing

Article by Cathy Enerson

Preston’s National Trout Center heads into year three of operation and has graduated!  Graduated meaning that the Center has successfully transitioned from a city-guided project into the hands of its new board of director’s.  This board offers expertise in many of the development areas within the inner workings of the center.  Accomplishing this step, the center reached a new milestone and was approved to become a 501C-3 non profit organization. The EDA will continue to work on land acquisition and the brownfield cleanup that is necessary for the center to locate along the Root River. In addition, the EDA assisted with the hiring a new program director, Karen Grimlund.  Karen will kick off the season opener April 14th, at the Trout Center.

A lot of focus to date has centered on the elements required to successfully receive the requested 3.5 million dollars in state bonding funds.  State Senator Jeremy Miller is carrying this project for Preston.

The University of Minnesota’s Design Team, through acquired grant funds, developed conceptual drawings for the Trout Center. The Trout Center was able to use these drawings at a recent bonding committee hearing at the Capitol in St. Paul.  These drawings are an asset to the Center as it continues to move forward into its permanent home and location.

The EDA wrapped up 2011 by updating and converting the revolving loan fund guidelines, that were once a city ordinance into a policy.  The 2012 housing incentive was implemented in April, and is off to a good start.  The program will assist three rehabilitation housing projects, assist with three new homeowners moving to Preston, and with the building of three new homes.

Another Successful Year for Eyota

Article by Cathy Enerson

Eyota accomplished another goal set in its comprehensive plan when it recentlyjoined the Rochester Area Builders.  In the past, getting information to developers and builders was costly and time consuming.  That is not the case today.  The EDA worked directly with the board of the Rochester Area Builders and their new director, John Eishen.  Rochester Area Builder’s board saw value in providing information about Eyota’s housing incentives to its members and now Eyota is now a contributory member of their organization.  Their website links the City of Eyota’s housing incentive webpage to the Rochester Area Builders  homepage.

The City of Eyota strongly encourages the building of new homes and new commercial construction, and aides that by eliminating many of the building permit fees.  The 2012 new home incentive saves the builder/homeowner $2,250.00.  In addition to encouraging building, Eyota enjoys a beautiful park and trail system.

The EDA was asked to help with an infrastructure project that would finalize the city park department’s trail plan.  The EDA is assisting by writing a grant to fund the implementation of the plan.  This past fall, the city was successful and was awarded a  $355,000 MnDOT “Safe Routes to School” grant to make safety improvements for school children by making trail and infrastructure enhancements.  Construction will begin in 2013.

Crossing the railroad tracks and connecting into the regional trail system is the final link in one of the city’s trails.  A grant was submitted in March that if successful, would complete this link along highway 42.  The EDA works in close collaboration with the park department, city engineers and city clerk to successfully submit grants like these.

Lewiston EDA Continues Developing City Trail System

Article by Chris Giesen

Over the past several months, the Lewiston Economic Development Authority has been looking at several ways to develop a city-wide trail system.  Forming a separate trails committee to research opportunities and review proposals, this new trails committee is looking to ready the community to join a future network of trails throughout Winona County.  “Although this larger network of trails is still in the early planning stages, it appears that Lewiston will be a hub of the Winona County trails,” said CEDA business development specialist Chris Giesen.  “Lewiston, through their new trail committee and EDA has begun taking the necessary steps to develop a community trail system that will compliment this future network, enhance the quality of life, promote economic development, and encourage healthy life styles.”

Last fall, the EDA was awarded a $101,500 Safe Routes to School grant from MnDOT.  These funds will build a short trail connecting a residential neighborhood to the Lewiston-Altura Elementary School, and improve the safety at 6 pedestrian intersections along a designated school route.  The safety improvements include new signage, pavement markings, and bringing the intersections into compliance with the Americans with Disability Act.

The trail committee and EDA continue to plan the use of “sharrows” (pavement markings that depict a bicycle and arrows to alert motorists that bicycles are present and welcome to share the lane of traffic) on a number of city streets while the trail committee continues studying preferred routes for paved recreational trails.

Disaster Averted in Howard County

Article by Jason Passmore

Howard Countyhad felt the affects of the downturn in the economy the past few years but things were seemingly stabilizing and the outlook was becoming cautiously optimistic.  Then two freak events occurred that sent the community scrambling.  First, a fire at SMI, a wood pallet manufacturing company in Cresco, was seriously damaged November 14, 2011.  Three separate fire departments from the area battled the blaze throughout the night trying to contain the fire.  When the ashes settled, a warehouse, a heat-treated kiln, and around 10,000 pallets were destroyed.  As bad as this was for SMI who employs over 65 people, the production area was spared and no one was injured.  The next morning with the aide of local construction firms, SMI was back producing pallets for their customers and working to make improvements.  A decision had to be made about the longevity of the manufacturing operation and to the joy of the community the choice was to rebuild in Cresco.

Less than a month later, after responding successfully to an auto body fire around 3:30 pm on December 20, 2011, the Cresco Fire Department received another call around 7:30 pm.  Cresco Food Technologies, a food toll processing and manufacturing company employing almost 50 people, called to say an explosion occurred at the plant.  The Fire Department responded and found extensive damage and one employee severely burned.  Again, a decision had to be made yet Cresco Food Technologies has made the choice to work on improvements to their facility and to rebuild in Cresco.

These two employers could have limped away with insurance proceeds and choose to rebuild elsewhere or shut down completely.  But with community support, excellent volunteer fire departments and a quality existing workforce, the decision to stay was the overwhelming choice. Revolving Loan funds from Howard County Business & Tourism have been utilized and over 100 jobs stayed locally.

Mabel Opens New Community Center

Article by Sherry Hines

After several years of working on the project, the City of Mabel and its EDA are pleased to have the doors open on the new Mabel Community Center/City Hall.  The 9,000 sq. ft. facility contains space for City Hall, meeting rooms, public restrooms, a banquet hall capable of seating 350, a commercial kitchen, and a bar area.  The $1.7 million project was financed with over $950,000 in donations, including generous contributions from the Mabel Telephone Co-op and the Arlin Falck Foundation, plus a $200,000 grant from USDA Rural Development, and a $450,000 low interest USDA Rural Development Community Facilities loan.  EDA staff was involved with most aspects of the project including land acquisition, building design, fundraising, furnishing of the banquet hall, and equipping the kitchen.  Area businesses and residents are already making use of the banquet hall for corporate annual meetings, fundraisers, and receptions.

 

2011-2012 CEDA Activities

After one of the most successful years in company history, CEDA team members complied the activities and projects they assisted communities with:

2011-12 CEDA Activities

CEDA Welcomes Jennifer Hengel & Beth Carlson to the Team!

Jennifer Hengel
Jennifer Hengel

Jennifer grew up in Stockton, MN and is a graduate of Winona Senior High School.  She received bachelors degree in political science and spanish from Saint Mary’s University. Following undergraduate studies, Jennifer attended the Edwin O. Stene Master’s Program in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. During graduate school, she worked first for the City Clerk/human resources department in Shawnee, KS and then completed a full-time internship with the City Manager’s office in Des Moines, IA. After receiving her MPA and spending a year with the City of Des Moines, she and her husband Jon returned to southeast Minnesota to live closer to family.  Jennifer worked in the administration of non-profit Community Action agencies from 2001-2011, first at Western Dairyland Economic Opportunity Council headquartered in Independence, WI and then at Semcac, which has its main office in Rushford, MN.  Jennifer joined CEDA in November 2011 and is one of two CEDA team members providing city administrative services to the City of Lewiston.  Jennifer and her husband have lived in Rushford since 2003, where they are raising their two children. She is also a member of the City of Rushford Planning Commission and the Rushford Community Foundation Board, and in her spare time enjoys volunteering in the community, reading, and running.

Beth Carlson

Also joining the team is Beth Carlson.  She joined CEDA in January of 2012 and is the other team member providing city administrative services to the City of Lewiston.  Beth is a former employee of Herff Jones, Inc in Lewisotn where she spent nearly 15 years as a seasonal employee in production, customer service, and human resources. She recieved an associate of appliped science degree in supervisory management and another in accounting, as well as bachelors degree in individualized studies where she used her business and accounting knowledge, adding in human diversity issues, and learned to look at the world from a global perspective.

Elgin Family Dentistry Opens its Doors

Article by Chris Giesen

The City of Elgin formally welcomed its newest business and latest economic development project at a ribbon cutting ceremony on January 30, 2012.  Dr. Julee Kingsley and her three employees opened Elgin Family Dentistry’s doors in mid 2011, but January’s ribbon cutting was a big celebration for a rural community with big plans.  In attendance at the ceremony was USDA Rural Development state director Colleen Landkamer, a representative from U.S. Senator Klobuchar’s office, a representative from U.S. Congressman Tim Walz’s office, MN DEED representatives, local elected officials, CEDA staff, and many others that made this project possible.

The City of Elgin, with the help of CEDA, secured a $396,000 Community Facility loan from the USDA to purchase the building Dr. Kingsley needed to open her practice.  Having the city purchase the building and having Dr. Kingsley as a tenant was the key to making this project affordable so it could get off the ground.  “We started looking at this project in early 2010,” said CEDA President/CEO Ron Zeigler, who also led the CEDA team for this project.  “This was quite a unique project that involved not only many of our team members, but the Elgin EDA and city council, financial advisors, DEED, USDA, People’s Energy Cooperative, and even Congressman Walz himself.  Without all of these people working together for Elgin, this project wouldn’t have happened.” he continued.  “A special thanks to Mayor Rich Hall and city clerk Sue Cain who tirelessly championed for Dr. Kingsley’s project from the beginning; there were many scenarios to discuss and hurdles to overcome but with their leadership Dr. Kingsley was able to move forward.”

St. Charles: Ready For Business

Article by Cris Gastner

City and EDA see infrastructure completed in new business park and assist with completion of infrastructure in existing industrial park.

The City of St. Charles has seen the completion of two major infrastructure projects that provides several options for business looking to expand or relocate to the community.  With the completion of the water booster station this spring, the infrastructure in the new Chattanooga Innovation Park is now complete.  The new park encompasses around thirty acres of developable land in the first phase. City and EDA staff has been contacted by several prospective businesses about the park spanning several industries from retail and hospitality to manufacturing and light industry and are “cautiously optimistic” about seeing some construction in the park this summer.

The City and EDA also assisted in an infrastructure project in its existing Whitewater Industrial Park that will allow an existing business in the park explore a major expansion project as well as make available two really attractive industrial lots for future development.  With the entire infrastructure now in place in phase one of the park, these to lots become extremely marketable to prospective new businesses as well as existing businesses looking to expand.

With these two infrastructure projects now complete, the City of St. Charles is most definitely “Ready for Business”.