Archives for April 2020

CEDA Community Grants Bulletin (CGB) to evolve into CEDA Community Grants Database (CGD)

article by: Abby Wright

For a year and a half, CEDA’s Community Grants Bulletin (CGB) has been shared each month with CEDA staff and many of their EDA Boards and city officials to help devise a fundraising strategy for their community and economic development needs.

“Now that we have well over a year of research-based, annual grant deadlines for CEDA communities in a collective list, the Grants Department can start making it even easier for the team to match grant opportunities with their community projects,” says Abby Wright, CEDA Community Grant Specialist. Wright plans to do this by adapting the CGB into a live, easy-to-use digital spreadsheet, which will enable each CEDA contract in the Community Support Program to have its own annual list of grant deadlines tailored to its geographic location; Wright will work with colleagues to keep the records as comprehensive, relevant, and updated as possible.

The new CEDA Community Grants Database (CGD), expected to be up and running in early summer, will also include a section where CEDA staff can enter grant questions and research assistance requests so that team members can be aware of other team members’ similar projects for potential collaboration and information-sharing. This section will also organically create records that include a real “tally” of the most common fundraising needs among CEDA communities.


City of Goodview, MN Receives Grant from Minnesota Business Finance Corporation

Article by: Donna Mack

The Goodview, MN Economic Development Authority (EDA) created a Community Leadership Committee as one of the first steps toward a Comprehensive Plan. In collaboration of these two entities, project objectives were identified for the City’s Comprehensive Plan. CEDA team member, Donna Mack, who serves the City, and City Administrator Dan Matejka led the Leadership members with topics for discussion to seek input for the community’s past, present and future.

“The engagement of the Leadership Committee and the Comprehensive Steering Committee laid the groundwork, and worked closely with the City and the EDA in preparation for Bolton & Menk to now take the reins. We are thankful for the committee insight, and their loyalty of time,” said Donna Mack of CEDA.

The EDA recently received an award of $1,500 from Minnesota Business Finance Corporation (MBFC). The grant funds will be used to extend Bolton & Menk’s proposal to develop a web page to be hosted on the City’s website. The web page can be used for project information, upcoming events, opportunities to get involved and places to provide comments.

Additionally, the MBFC grant fund will help the City develop a community survey. A successful engagement will inform the public of the City’s goal, which is to have broad buy-in and support, to pave the way for a successful comprehensive plan. Dan Matejka stated, “We are so pleased to work with Bolton & Menk to create a vision for our City and a long-range plan to implement a vision for Goodview. Creating a tailored Comprehensive Plan to meet the needs and character of Goodview has been a priority for the EDA”.

Spring Grove unveils CEDA-authored Housing Study

Article by: Courtney Bergey Swanson

CEDA team member Cathy Enerson recently completed a comprehensive housing study for the City of Spring Grove, which revealed exciting data about the growth potential for the community as well as tangible recommendations for implementation. The process included three community engagement sessions, an employer survey, and research in partnership with stakeholders.

The final study outlines the needs for different housing types and provides case studies, resources, a potential development map, and practical next steps for community initiatives to spur housing growth. As a result of the study, the Council and EDA voted to create a new Housing Subcommittee to provide leadership on implementing the recommendations. The Spring Grove EDA, led by CEDA team members Courtney Bergey Swanson and Rebecca Charles, commissioned the study in partnership with the City. Rebecca Charles authored a $5,000 Compeer Financial grant to cover a majority of the costs.

CEDA Team Member Works to Organize Job Fair in Preston, MN

Article by: Cathy Enerson

On March 3rd, Southeast Minnesota high school students, their parents and the general public were invited to attend a Job and Career Fair at Fillmore Central School in Preston.   By all accounts, the first Job and Career Fair was a success!

28 businesses/organizations in the retail, tourism, health care, manufacturing and construction industries were on hand to speak with 90 students from Preston, Harmony, Mabel, Canton, and Chatfield schools who passed through the job fair and attended the four career sessions. Jen Strand, Recruitment Marketing Consultant/Event Coordinator at Jobs HQ collaborated in organizing the event with Cathy Enerson, Preston EDA Director and CEDA team member.  The companies had booths where people could find out how to actually apply for a position (or if they’d already applied, they could find out what’s next). There was no cost or registration required for interested job seekers who attended, Jen Strand shared that “attending helps job seekers discover jobs they didn’t know existed – the hidden job market.”

The genesis of the job fair is the new veterans home proposed to be built in Preston.  Enerson shared information on how this job fair came to be.  “It was a combination of things.  It was the fact that the Preston Area Chamber of Commerce was interested in promoting opportunities for part-time, seasonal and volunteer opportunities.  As well as the fact that, should the MDVA (Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs) project happen in the next couple of years we will need to fill 139 jobs, we want to know how to run a successful job and career fair.  We want to prepare Preston.”

The day ended with when a panel of nine local business leaders and entrepreneurs sharing their career journey from high school to where they are today in the careers. The panelists shared a theme of following your passion and volunteering.

“Thanks so much for including Mabel-Canton in the job & career fair.  It was VERY ORGANIZED and the format was great! The kids chattered about what they saw on the entire trip home.  It supports all the conversations that I’m having with kids each day!” said Lana Hollar, K-12 School Counselor at Mabel-Canton Public Schools.


CEDA Helps Hayfield, MN Begin Interactive Planning Strategy for Safe Routes to School Application

Article by: Rebecca Charles

The Safe Routes to School Program helps make it safe and fun for students to bicycle and walk to school.  When kids are more active, they arrive to school focused and ready to learn.  Safe Routes to School has many benefits for Minnesota including improved safety, reduced traffic and improved air quality near schools.  Preparing a ‘Trails Program’ can be done by a city subcommittee and assistance from an engineer, but Hayfield EDA Director and CEDA team member, Rebecca Charles felt something was missing.  The EDA board wanted the entire community to be able to give their input on the project.

Through a process of interactive activities, the goal of the Hayfield EDA is to obtain details from students regarding where trails will be most beneficial in making it easier to walk or bike to school.  Factors that will be identified include tripping hazards in route to school, locations where there is no current safe place for students to walk, heavy traffic and other obstacles when walking and biking to school.  “It’s extremely important to get the input from the youth of the community as well as the parents.  It is the younger students who are doing the walking.  They know the answers to our questions better than anyone else!”, says Charles.

On Thursday, February 20th, Charles met with the Senior and Junior classes at the Hayfield Public High School in the gymnasium to secure their input.  Charles introduced the Safe Routes to School program to the students, along with what the EDA is trying to accomplish through these activities.  Two more workshops will be held in April to gain community input from the community at large.

CEDA-Authored Grant Assists Stewartville, MN in Purchasing Radar Feedback Signs

The City of Stewartville, MN will be able to improve road safety this year thanks to a $6,792.10 grant from State Farm.

CEDA team members Joya Stetson and Abby Wright successfully authored the aforementioned grant application to State Farm’s Good Neighbor Citizenship® Company Grants program. Stetson and Wright outlined how the City planned to purchase and install three radar speed signs in areas where Olmsted County police officers have recorded a high number of speeders within City limits. These signs have been proven to encourage drivers to abide by speed limits through increasing awareness.   In fact, studies have reported that radar signs cause 8/10 drivers to slow their speeds by an average of 10-20% and to comply with most of the posted speed limit signs on their route thereafter; even a small reduction in speed can substantially reduce accidents or even fatalities.

“Road safety and risk mitigation are extremely important to State Farm, which is why we felt that the Program would be a good fit for this project,” said Stetson. “State Farm’s team was easy to work and communicate with throughout the process. We are so appreciative of the opportunity to further increase and promote safety in our community.”

State Farm regularly considers contributing to eligible organizations for projects focused on safety, community development and education.  Their grant application cycle is currently closed but will likely open again on September 1, 2020.  Continue to visit their website for more information!