Archives for March 2013

CEDA’s 2012 Highlights

CEDA experienced another successful year in 2012! Updates and successes from several of CEDA’s member communities and the agency’s other projects are described below.

Blooming Prairie, MN

  • The Blooming Prairie EDA provided the land for Hormel Foods’ new $4 million data center. The building project will complete the city’s Industrial Park.
  • A new metal fabrication company opened for business in Blooming Prairie.
  • A successful Manufacturers Forum was held, and Senator Amy Klobuchar was the featured speaker.
  •  The EDA and Chamber continued work on downtown beautification. A new downtown sign and welcome sign on Hwy 218 are forthcoming.

Chatfield, MN

  • The EDA made $8,490 in revolving loans to local businesses.
  • Advocacy efforts continued with the legislature to include Chatfield Center for the Arts in a state bonding bill.
  • Plans were created for an industrial park, which could open 40+ acres for development and improve utility service in the community.
  • Work continues to redevelop a residential block into additional commercial space.

Dodge County, MN

  • Dodge County was awarded a $5,000 grant from AgStar for a Food Hub Feasibility Study, which is now in development.
  • $25,000 in economic development loans were issued to local businesses, maintaining nine positions.
  • A county-wide discussion was coordinated to develop ways to increase students’ community involvement.
  • Partnering with the University of MN Extension, a county-wide leadership group was explored.

 Eyota, MN

  • An Eyota Investment Fund—an account with approved DEED guidelines that utilizes the repaid funds from the 2008 flood—was created. One loan from the fund was approved to transfer ownership of an existing business.
  • CEDA staff worked with Jem’s Confections, an on-line candy and cake business, to locate a USDA kitchen, which was purchased after eighteen months of leasing. The new location allowed an expansion of retail hours.
Jem's Confections in Eyota, MN received assistance to find a location with a USDA kitchen.

Jem’s Confections in Eyota, MN received assistance to find a location with a USDA kitchen.

  • With revolving loan funds, CEDA staff assisted in the transfer of ownership and purchase of an existing business to create Amy’s Salon 211.
  • The EDA applied for and was awarded grant funds to expand the Farmers Market by allowing the market to accept food support EBT payment. Sponsorships to support the Farmers Market were requested, and all those that were solicited contributed to the market, raising $1,000 and resulting in two kids’ days, music at the market, and a pet day.
  • Eyota is in the process of improving signage, using both way-finding signs and welcome signs. The first way-finding sign was installed in 2012 directing people to the historic downtown and public facilities throughout Eyota.
  • The Eyota EDA recommended the continued use of incentives that save the builder over $2,200 in permit fees. This new construction incentive is for both housing and commercial and resulted in new housing starts and the purchase of land in the NW Investment Commercial Park, where a new business will be building a showroom and warehouse in 2013. The EDA asked for cooperative sponsorships to cover the cost of promoting the housing incentive, and two businesses covered 50 percent of the cost.
  • The EDA was awarded $3,340 in funding from AgStar to perform a senior demand and needs assessment study for Arbor Gardens, the city’s senior living facility.
AgStar granted funds for a senior needs assessment in Eyota, MN.

AgStar granted funds for a senior needs assessment in Eyota, MN.

  • A team from the City of Eyota, including the EDA, gave a presentation to Mayo Clinic in 2012, highlighting city assets. CEDA staff created a power point and provided data from the senior demand study demonstrating the future need for an Arbor Gardens’ expansion. The study also indicated the need for a health care facility in Eyota, and the city offered Mayo Clinic a site from which to operate.

Fillmore County, MN

  • CEDA staff worked with several businesses on business development and financial planning.
  • The Fillmore County EDA was awarded an Incentive Grant from the Southern MN Initiative Foundation for a Succession Planning Program in Fillmore County.
  • The economic impact of the silica sand industry was researched and reported on for the county’s Silica Sand Committee.

Goodhue County, MN

  • CEDA continues to administer the MIF funds for the Goodhue County Flood Project.  To date, $1,067,286.65 in funds have been dispersed to six businesses for flood recovery.
  • The Goodhue County Economic Development Authority, in partnership with CEDA, hosted the 4th Annual Goodhue County EDA Summit on October 25th at Welch Village Ski Area in Welch, MN. The focus of this year’s summit was expanding outdoor recreational opportunities to drive tourism development and grow the economy in the county. The event featured a variety of presentations by outdoor recreation and tourism experts as well as the recognition of eight local businesses that do an outstanding job of attracting visitors to the area, providing unique experiences or amenities, or promoting outdoor recreation within Goodhue County.
Goodhue County Administrator Scott Arneson presenting John Maloney, owner of Cannon River Winery, with a Certificate of Recognition at the 2012 Goodhue County EDA Summit. Cannon River Winery was one of eight businesses recognized at the event.

Goodhue County Administrator Scott Arneson presenting John Maloney, owner of Cannon River Winery, with a Certificate of Recognition at the 2012 Goodhue County EDA Summit. Cannon River Winery was one of eight businesses recognized at the event.

Grand Meadow, MN

  • Grand Meadow received $2,000 in community grant funds from Alliant Energy and a $500 donation from Arvig Phone Co. for improvements to Veteran’s Memorial Park.
  • A $30,000 revolving loan was provided to an auto service company, and $3,500 in Small Cities rehab funds went to the grocery store.
  • CEDA staff also assembled and published a Business Directory, awarded two scholarships to students who worked on the city’s website, and hosted the city’s National Night Out Picnic.
  • In 2012, the preliminary cost estimates and bids for phase two development of the Industrial Park were prepared.

Harmony, MN

  • $55,688 in commercial rehabilitation loans sparked an additional $67,726 in private investment in local commercial buildings.
  • $15,000 in revolving loans were delivered to local businesses.
  • CEDA staff helped secure $11,000 in grants for new park equipment.
  • A local community foundation was established with help from CEDA staff.

Howard County, IA Business & Tourism

  • Howard County Business & Tourism (HCBT) was able to work with 12 new or existing businesses to supply $589,000 in revolving loan funds in 2012, creating 42 new jobs and retaining another 65 jobs over the next two years.
  • An example of HCBT’s business assistance is The Exchange, a new shopping opportunity in Cresco, IA. HCBT helped with Business Plan development, connected the owner to the Small Business Development Center, worked with her on diversified marketing strategies, helped bring in entrepreneurs to be consignors, linked the business to regional and statewide tourism websites, and assisted with an application to Iowa’s Dream Big Grow Here grant program.
The Exchange - a new business in Cresco, IA that received assistance from Howard County Business & Tourism

The Exchange – a new business in Cresco, IA that received assistance from Howard County Business & Tourism – currently features over 80 consignors from MN, IA, and WI

  • Over 40 unique, innovative entrepreneurs ranging from the individual employer to businesses with over 25 employees sat down with HCBT staff to chart paths of starting a new adventure or growing their current businesses.
  • HCBT has written over $2,600,000 of new housing applications, saving local contractors almost $350,000 of sales tax refunds and tax credit savings this year through the Enterprise Zone program.
  • The Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund is through cycle 3, and Howard County invested $16,000 in 2012 and received $73,967 of direct benefits for our residents and local housing stock. Collectively, over these three cycles, Howard County has invested $32,500 and realized $189,289 in direct benefits.
  • Howard County, along with four other northeast Iowa counties, has been chosen to participate in a job and mobility summit in Washington DC to help seek solutions to transportation issues and opportunities in our rural region.
  • More businesses, organizations, and individuals are taking advantage of the classes HCBT is hosting with Northeast Iowa Business Network. In 2012, classes included eBay, CEO of Customer Service, The Brain Gain, and QuickBooks.
  • 20 passionate new Chamber members were added to the team this past year.
  • Cresco Chamber Dollars generated $52,550 through Dec 2012 as well as the successful $6,000 Jingle in Your Pocket promotion keeping more money local.
  • The latest Tourism statistics show Howard County generated $4,370,000 in travel expenditures and $500,000 in local tax receipts. This is an 8.44% increase in travel expenditures compared to 2010.
  • We host strong websites and new media sites throughout the county, connecting to each other and outside our county. Over 10,000 Howard County magazines were distributed this year and a promotional media piece is in development to recruit and retain residents and visitors.
  • HCBT wrote and was awarded $14,365 in grant funds for various projects and events in Howard County. 

Lake City, MN

  • The city and the EDA awarded four facade improvement grants to downtown Lake City businesses in 2012. The grants totaled roughly $32,000 and spurred an additional $53,000 of private investment from the recipient building owners.
Facade improvements to downtown businesses in Lake City, MN

Facade improvements to downtown businesses in Lake City, MN

  • The EDA and Chamber hosted Customer Service Training for Managers. The seminar, presented by Workforce Development, Inc., was the first in a series to increase businesses and employee understanding of the importance of, and methods for, providing great customer service.
Customer service training held in Lake City, MN

Customer service training held in Lake City, MN

  • The EDA and Chamber held a variety of activities and events to celebrate Manufacturer’s Week, and recognized Automation Services, Inc. as Lake City’s Manufacturer of the Year in 2012.
Automated Services, Inc. recognized as Lake City's Manufacturer of the Year in 2012

Automated Services, Inc. recognized as Lake City’s Manufacturer of the Year in 2012

  • The city and EDA assisted with the purchase of a local salon by providing gap financing in the form of a revolving loan.

LeRoy, MN

  • CEDA staff arranged and facilitated a business roundtable discussion for area businesses, highlighting available financial assistance, marketing opportunities, and challenges facing small, rural businesses.
  • With assistance from consultants, plans were developed to stabilize occupancy and improve quality of life issues and finances at the EDA-owned senior living facility.
  • Efforts to improve entrance signage for the community continued.

Lewiston, MN

  • With assistance from the EDA, the city received a Mn/DOT Safe Routes to Schools grant of just over $100,000 to improve walking paths for children to get to school, which is the first step in a citywide trail plan. The EDA assisted in the development of a community “Master Trails Plan.”
  • CEDA staff began planning for potential enhancements to the former lagoons to repurpose the site for recreational and educational uses as a regional park. The project is developing in cooperation with the Winona Co. Soil & Water Conservation District, the DNR, and civic organizations.
  • A successful Mn/DOT landscaping grant up to $10,000 was approved to improve the Highway 14 corridor through the city. Work will begin in 2013.
  • $21,500 in economic development loans were provided to local businesses, resulting in a business opening and the creation of three full-time jobs.
  • CEDA’s Administrative Operations personnel in Lewiston provided daily governmental and utility administration, assisted with the transition to a new server and computers, including paperless City Council meetings; instituted direct deposit for employees; provided administration for a street/utility improvement project and the development of future infrastructure projects; and began the process to offer on-line billing and payments for the city’s utility services.

Mabel, MN

  • Marketing efforts were developed for the new Mabel Community Center/City Hall, plus establishing recognition for the major donors to the more than $1 million project.
  • The City of Mabel developed a new website.
  • Work continued with a community group seeking to establish a new coop grocery store to replace the grocery store that closed last spring. The EDA will be involved with acquisition and demolition of properties needed for construction of the new building.

Preston, MN

  • The City Revolving Loan Fund became an EDA program under new guidelines approved by and overseen by the City Council.
  • The EDA approved a 2012 Housing Incentive Program to promote energy efficiency and the use of Preston Bucks to reinforce shopping locally. Three home purchase projects and two home rehab projects were approved through the program.
  • Area land owners worked with the EDA to take steps to support the future revitalization of land along the Root River. The EDA submitted an application for state brownfield funds to improve the land.
  • CEDA staff helped bring in a buyer for a property that will become the home to NAPA Auto Parts and Root River Hardware in 2013.
  • The National Trout Center, an EDA project, transitioned to a 501(c)(3) organization and a full-time director was hired. Staff from CEDA, the city, and the National Trout Center testified at the bonding bill hearings using drawings from the University of Minnesota Design Team.
  • The Business Retention and Expansion Survey was shortened and several businesses were visited in the process to determine the need for more industrial land.
  • After the closing of a financial services company, CEDA staff assisted an accountant with her search for incubator space. Locating affordable space allowed her to open her own new tax service business.
  • Traditions, the management company of a for-profit assisted living center, received assistance to provide better information to the community about a new building expansion that added eleven beautiful units.

Rushford, MN

  • The management of Business Flood Loans and the Revolving Loan Fund continues with updates to the EDA and documentation to city staff.
  • Revolving loans were provided to two high-tech businesses, and a second-term revolving loan enabled the Historic Bluff Country to remain in Rushford.
  • CEDA staff provided assistance with business financials and follow-up on business leads as needed.
  • The CEDA staff serves on the Rushford Institute for Nanotechnology (RINTek) Board and the 7 Rivers (Tri-State Regional) Alliance Board. 

Rushford Village, MN

  • CEDA staff fulfilled city administrative operations, including preparation of meeting agendas and minutes, accounts payable and receivable, financial reporting, budget development, audit work, zoning, infrastructure project administration, public communications, and more.
  • Business Flood Loan work continued. Business Susidy Criteria and Revolving Loan Fund policies were developed for Flood Fund Repayments.
  • The city clerk job description was revised, the position advertised, and agreements drafted per negotiations. Training of the new city clerk continues.
  • Work continued on ordinance revisions with the Zoning Board.
  • CEDA staff coordinated the Tri-City Collaboration between the cities of Rushford, Rushford Village and Peterson and followed through with the second round of Tri-City Business Retention & Expansion surveys.

St. Charles, MN

  • Tax Increment Financing was utilized to complete infrastructure improvements to the Whitewater Industrial Park, allowing an existing business to expand.
  • Revolving loans were provided to three businesses to make improvements that will potentially allow them to expand their businesses.
  • CEDA staff worked with an existing business to help with refinancing existing debt and accessing additional capital to purchase the building they were leasing.

 Spring Valley, MN                        

  • The Spring Valley EDA coordinated efforts with Fillmore County to assist with the purchase of the Root River Country Club, an area asset.
    Dennis Langreck of the Lime Springs, IA area is the new owner of Root River Country Club south of Spring Valley. He is shown alongside his new bar that was recently completed along with other remodeling endeavors at the business. (Tribune photo by Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy)

    Dennis Langreck of the Lime Springs, IA area is the new owner of Root River Country Club south of Spring Valley. He is shown alongside his new bar that was recently completed along with other remodeling endeavors at the business. (Tribune photo by Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy)

  • The Spring Valley EDA created programming for succession planning. The programming and a successful grant application was shared with the Fillmore County EDA, which resulted in another successful grant for Fillmore County. Spring Valley businesses are now participating in the county succession planning programming.
  • Hardscrabble Hide and Fur received revolving loan funds. Their move to the City grew the business faster than expected resulting in a need for an additional cooler and electrical work.
    Hardscrabble Hill Hide & Fur - a new business in Spring Valley, MN (Photo from Spring Valley Tribune)

    Hardscrabble Hill Hide & Fur – a new business in Spring Valley, MN (Photo from Spring Valley Tribune)

  • The EDA continued to pursue the organization, design, and economic restructuring for downtown revitalization. The EDA pursued the opportunity to become a pilot program with Greater Minnesota Housing Fund for the establishment of a revolving loan fund for the creation of apartments above commercial buildings. This pilot program is being developed to compliment Small Cites Development Program funding.
  • USDA grant funds were provided to two area businesses for expansion. They were REEK, the land and building holding company for AMD insulation manufacturer and national distributor, and to Marzolf Implements. The USDA staff visited Spring Valley during the check presentations.
  • In an effort to support the Small Cities Development Program application, the EDA created a 1% revolving loan fund to aid in downtown revitalization.
  • The EDA recognized a total of seven new and expanding businesses.
  • The Shovel Ready designation was presented to the EDA. The EDA Board and Utility Board both support the Shovel Ready designation for the expanded industrial park.
  • The EDA administers $1,500 in Spring Valley dollars for new construction applicants.

Stewartville, MN

  • CEDA staff coordinated the sale of downtown commercial property for renovation. 
  • Numerous community marketing activities were developed and implemented.
  • A business subsidy policy and revolving loan fund program were updated.
  • The process began for “Shovel Ready” site certification.

West Concord, MN

  • After some time with no activity, the EDA learned one of its housing lots will soon see a house constructed.
  • West Concord is in the process of developing a charter school within the community.
  • Three new businesses opened: a computer service store, a CAD engineering firm, and a chiropractic clinic.
  • Multiple successful business forums were held, at which local business owners helped shape the EDA’s future goals.

 Other CEDA projects

  • Through the SE Minnesota Small Business Development Center at Rochester Community & Technical College, CEDA worked with 29 clients, providing 253 hours of assistance.
  • Developed a Marketing Plan for Spring Valley, MN and a Feasibility Study in Howard County, IA for the Patty Elwood Center
  • Completed a Business and Entrepreneurial Support Team (BEST) of Waseca Area Feasibility Study.
  • Administered several Small Cities Development Program Projects:
    • Spring Grove—Commercial Rehabilitation: $180,000 in funds for a goal of 9 projects.  Six projects are in various stages of construction. Through 2012, $109,140 in grant funds were committed, along with $49,820 in private funds.
    • Lanesboro—Housing Rehabilitation: $300,000 in funds for a goal of 15 housing units. Eight are in various stages of construction.
    • Lanesboro—Commercial Rehabilitation: $100,000 in funds for a goal of 5 projects. Four projects are in various stages of construction.
    • Wykoff—Public Facilities: $500,000 in funds for the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. Bid specifications were submitted to Rural Development and DEED for final approval.
    • Spring Valley—a SCDP application for Commercial and Rental Rehabilitation was submitted in February 2013, requesting $539,750 in SCDP funds.