Archives for December 2013

CEDA Welcomes New Intern, Tom Monson

Tom Monson, is the newest addition to the CEDA team through its internship program.   Growing up in Cannon Falls, MN he had previously worked for the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation researching regional competitiveness in southern Minnesota.  Tom is a senior at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN and will graduate in December 2013; majoring in political science and rhetorical communication studies.  His interests include international and domestic politics, regional economic development, Minnesota sports teams, weightlifting, and immigration resource development.

Welcome Tom!

Iowa Governor Breaks Ground at $7 Million Facility in Howard County

Article by: Spiff Slifka

Construction is underway!  With over 150 dignitaries in attendance including Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds, and Iowa Economic Development Authority Director Debi Durham, shovels were put to use and black dirt was turned over in honor of Lime Springs Beef, LLC. Branstad acknowledged, “As big a deal as Facebook and Google are in other parts of the state of Iowa, Lime Springs Beef is a big deal in this area.”

Jesse Stevens, Lime Springs Beef President said his story is “about an Iowa farm boy who after a long and rewarding business career was given the opportunity to return home and be part of a project that will turn the plight of a region and possibly the plight of the beef industry.”

This $7 million project, expecting to bring 50 new jobs to Howard County, is located along US Hwy 63 at the unique epicenter of locally raised highest-quality beef.  This technologically cutting edge slaughter house will feature certified beef producers and the entire process from farm to fork will allow consumers to track their cut of beef full circle.

This innovative business is a true partnership from Board of Directors, Howard County Business & Tourism, the State of Iowa, and now our local FFA organization from Crestwood High School. Earlier in 2013 Governor Branstad and Lt Gov Reynolds were keynote speakers at the HCBT Banquet and signed into law House File #533.  This law, written and sponsored by local House Representative Josh Byrnes, now allows entrepreneurial education funds to be invested in private business.  Crestwood FFA bought a share of Lime Springs Beef and is now a stakeholder in this pioneering business.

CEDA Vice President of Iowa operations Jason Passmore and Community and Business Development Specialist Spiff Slifka through their work with Howard County Business and Tourism assisted the project by securing a Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grant in the amount of $418,197 and a High Quality Jobs Program (HQJP) grant in the amount of $234,090.

CEDA Secures Over $3.2 Million in Grant Funding During 2013

During 2013 CEDA team members had 26 individual grant applications funded, securing over $3.2 million in funding for a number of projects in communities served. “Our agency was founded on grant writing and administration when we started about 27 years ago,” CEDA President/CEO Ron Zeigler said. “While we have grown tremendously and expanded the scope of services we provide over the years, successfully leveraging funds for our communities via grant opportunities is still a major focus for our organization and a point of pride for us. Not only do we write the applications but we also are able to administer the grant program throughout the entire process.”

This year’s successes cover a wide variety of projects:

  • $11,600 from AgStar Financial for community projects in Eyota and Spring Valley.
  • $10,000 from the Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council for a community sculpture project in Harmony.
  • $355,000 from MnDOT for a Safe Routes to School project in Eyota.
  • $539,750 from the Small Cities Development Block Grant and $77,000 from the Greater Minnesota Housing Finance Agency for a residential and rental rehabilitation project in Spring Valley.
  • $879,243 from the Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure program for industrial park & manufacturing expansions in Chatfield, Lyle, Grand Meadow, and Cannon Falls.
  • $76,500 from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for a local trails connection project in Eyota.
  • $10,000 from the Minnesota Historical Society for a historic preservation project in Houston County.
  • $652,287 from the Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy and High Quality Jobs Program in conjunction with an agricultural processor expansion in Howard County.
  • $4,833 from various sources for marketing and tourism efforts in Howard County.
  • $233,611 from the Minnesota Redevelopment Grant program to assist with moving public infrastructure in conjunction with a retail development in Chatfield.
  • $408,000 from the Minnesota Investment Fund for a manufacturer expansion in Chatfield.
  • $17,525 from the USDA RBEG and REAP programs for businesses in Spring Valley.

DID YOU KNOW??? Director of Grants, Michelle Vrieze, has 20 years of grant writing experience with CEDA and is CEDA’s expert on writing and administering Small Cities Development Block Grant programs covering housing, commercial, rental, and public facilities projects? With the help of CEDA interns, Michelle also keeps track of current available grant programs for a wide variety of projects. Ask CEDA how we can help your community with its next project!

From Ron’s Desk

An early Merry Christmas to everyone! I can’t believe how fast 2013 has gone by. It seems like we just had our Annual Meeting, after the big May blizzard. 2013 provided many opportunities for growth at CEDA. We added new members to the team, began relationships with new community partners across the region, and assisted with many projects and events.

As a growing private non-profit company, we do not rely on any outside foundation or government support for funding. Our budget is funded completely through the services we provide and the generous support of our investors. This independence from outside funding sources provides us tremendous amounts of flexibility in the scope of services that we are able to provide and where/how we provide them. We are a results-driven organization that does not ask for long term commitments from our clients; CEDA either gets our clients results or they can separate their ties with us – the way it should be.

New communities added to the CEDA family (or where we were asked to provide additional service) this year include the cities of Elgin, Claremont, Fairfax, Goodview, Oronoco, and Wabasha in Minnesota, Houston County and People’s Energy Cooperative in Minnesota and Boscobel Developers in Boscobel, Wisconsin. We also completed individual projects in the cities of Cannon Falls, La Crescent, Lyle, and Mantorville in Minnesota. We are not limited by geographical boundaries and are continually looking for ways to expand our model.

In addition to adding our newest full-time team member Rick Howden, we also started an internship program; I’m very happy to have Tom Monson on the team as our current intern. I hope that his experience has been beneficial and that he is enjoying it!

In 2013, the CEDA team also successfully authored grants that funded over $3.2 million in multiple local projects.

One last thought that I would like to share with all of you is the importance of supporting our local businesses. We are very fortunate to have a very diverse business community in our region but as we shop this holiday season, take a moment to think about how our spending habits affect our local economies. Spending our dollars with local business supports local families, our neighbors, our schools, and makes our communities strong and vibrant.

On behalf of the CEDA Board of Directors, CEDA team members, and myself, thank you for your continued support and confidence in our organization.


Ron Zeigler