St. Charles EDA: $685,000 in Private Investment made through Commercial Rehab Program

Article written by Cris Gastner


The City of St. Charles Economic Development Authority reported that over $685,000 of private investment was made as a result of the Commercial Rehabilitation Program that provided a small capital investment through a 5 year fixed loan program.

“I think the response exceeded all of our expectations,” stated Cris Gastner, CEDA Senior Vice President and St. Charles Economic Development Director. The program’s design allowed St. Charles commercial businesses to access up to $10,000 or 50 percent of the total project cost on a 5-year forgivable loan basis. The program which was designed and first started the middle of 2013 was made possible through the dollars received as part of the Rochester Sales Tax dollars. The EDA initially invested $100,000 into the program and while it was slow to start, it was eventually increased to $167,000 total funds available.

“Over 15 different businesses within St. Charles requested the funds and has resulted in many of the improvements that residents are seeing not only within our downtown mainstreet corridor, but also along Hwy 14 and Hwy 74 north,” Gastner stated. The goal of the EDA, City Council and staff was to help promote the investment into those areas because it is a critical part of the infrastructure of our community, Gastner relayed.

In addition, it was reported that 24 new home building permits have been issued because of the EDA and City Council’s decision to utilize Rochester Sales Tax revenues to reimburse home buyers for their 2014-2015 new home building permit fees. This program has helped to increase the number of building permits and resulted in an average construction home price of $221,000.


Renewable Energy/Waste Stream Diverter Company comes to Howard County!

Article written by Spiff Slifka


Currently, food industry byproducts are not being handled cost-effectively or in an environmentally friendly way. Howard County Business & Tourism has been working with Big Ox Energy who provides a cost-effective and scalable solution for industrial food manufacturing and processing facilities.

Big Ox Energy converts industrial food and agricultural waste into clean-burning, pipeline-grade, renewable natural gas, known as “green gas.” Good for the economy, the environment, and the industries it supports, “green gas” is a renewable, domestic energy source.

We are excited Big Ox Energy has chosen Howard County as their first “foot-print” in Iowa and we expect this vital company to grow and expand their services. Reducing waste going to landfills, reusing the energy contained in organic wastes, and recycling those products into fertilizers, soil amendments, and fuel sources takes the ‘green’ mantra; reduce, re-use, recycle to a whole new level.


CEDA at the Coalition of Greater MN Cities Conference


Jessica Ganrude & Cris Gastner

Article written by Joya Stetson


On July 22-24, 2015, CEDA Senior Vice President Cris Gaster  and Community and Business Development Specialists Jessica Ganrude and Joya Stetson attended the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities (“CGMC”) conference in Duluth, MN. The conference focused on the 2015 legislative session, workforce housing, labor and employee relations, and environmental regulations.  CEDA was excited to have the opportunity to exhibit at the conference and share information about CEDA’s services offered, past accomplishments, and opportunities for the future.  CEDA was able to have informative conversations with city officials from communities throughout Minnesota and felt that the conference served as a beneficial and effective venue for expanding awareness of CEDA’s services.

Lake City Sells 17 of 20 Residential Lots in 8 Weeks

Article written by Elliot Culp


After launching the Eaglewood Estates Fifth Addition Lot Sale Building Incentive Program on June 15th The City Council has approved 17 lot sales. The program is administered by The City and the EDA.

The program focuses on incentivizing construction, and making sure land is available to both homeowners and builders. “To build a home that many are looking to purchase, the building costs are high; taking into account lending policies in banks, high land sale prices, and the demands of the consumer. That environment makes for high expenses in developing a property, not only for a family, but developers as well. This was the rationale for the $1,000 land sale price and minimal stipulations. They enabled the program to appeal to a wider customer base. We are going to be seeing homes developed here that will probably be starting at $180,000, thanks to the low upfront costs.” said Elliot Culp, Executive Director of the Lake City EDA and Business and CEDA Community Development Specialist.

The city will receive building permit revenue, new utility accounts, and see an increase in the tax base from the increase in property values.

Stewartville EDA Launches New Website

Article written by Joya Stetson


The Stewartville, MN Economic Development Authority (EDA) launched its new website on Monday, July 27, 2015.

“Today, a community’s website often serves as an individual’s first impression. It is so important that we emphasize our amenities and opportunities in such a way that encourages people and businesses to both come here and stay here. The EDA recognized this, and focused its efforts on this project,” said Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) employee Joya Stetson who serves as the Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Stewartville.

After a formal RFP process and extensive review, the EDA contracted with Fused Interactive, a website design firm based out of Sioux Falls, SD.  Fused Interactive’s owner, Brian Brua, has been diligently working with City staff and boards to design, construct, and pefect a user friendly and aesthetically pleasing website for the City.

The new website features better-organized, relevant content, mobile optimization and aerial photography and videography accentuating the City’s beauty in addition to residential and business development opportunities.

“The Fused Interactive team is very excited to launch the new City of Stewartville website. We put a lot of effort into visually showcasing the amenities of Stewartville to help attract new residents and businesses, while also making sure the website is a useful tool for the people in the community,” Brua stated.

The Stewartville EDA has received positive feedback and community engagement since the launch date, and expects that the website will be an integral tool for growth and development as the Destination Medical Center (DMC) and Journey to Growth (J2G) initiatives advance and make headway in southeastern Minnesota.

For more information about the Stewartville, MN EDA and any upcoming events, visit

Cabin Coffee Co. Breaks Ground in Chatfield

Article written by Chris Giesen

Pictured: EDA President Michael Tuohy, Owners Alicia Hinckley & EB Allen, and Chatfield Mayor Russell Smith.

Pictured: EDA President Michael Tuohy, Owners Alicia Hinckley & EB Allen, and Chatfield Mayor Russell Smith.


In June, a ceremony was led by Chatfield Mayor Russell Smith and EDA President Michael Tuohy to break ground on Chatfield’s latest redevelopment project and newest pace to grab a cup coffee.  “This project took quite a bit of planning,” said Chatfield community development coordinator and CEDA Vice President Chris Giesen.  Owners Alicia Hinckley and EB Allen approached the EDA about 18 months ago we were able to help them discus locations, address site issues once they chose a spot, and assist with financing the project” he continued.

“They chose a great spot on the north end of Chatfield along Highway 52, just across the street from Chatfield’s high school that overlooks Mill Creek to the west.  We have definitely seen an uptick in activity and interest in this area for redevelopment recently” said Giesen.  He went on “Redevelopment projects can be a little trickier because there are additional factors at play such as existing conditions that need to be dealt with or reconfigured.  In order to make good projects like this work financially, we usually have to look at what tools we have available.  In this case we were able to leverage $81,000 in tax increment financing to make the project work.  We are excited to see this area of Chatfield grow.”

One issue that needed to be addressed was pedestrian access; in an area currently not served by sidewalks or trails, discussions were held with City, Olmsted County, and MnDOT officials to ensure sidewalks and crosswalks could be adequately installed.  In addition to demolition of an existing home on the property, additional dirt work was needed to control storm water runoff.  Construction is well underway and the owners expect to sell the first cup of coffee in fall 2015.

Eyota’s New Custom Packing Industry and more….

Article written by Cathy Enerson


Eyota welcomes Zetcorp Inc., a wholesale distribution company that specializes in custom packaging for items such as sausages, and other specialty meat packaging items.
Owners, Kurt and Jennifer Zetah have made a significant investment in the City of Eyota, they recently broke ground on a 1.2 million dollar, 13,000 sq. ft. facility for warehousing and custom packaging.

Kurt Zetah, originally from Brainerd, Minnesota, has 24 years of diverse domestic and international business experience. Jennifer Zetah, originally from Rochester, Minnesota, has strong marketing and sales experience and 14 years of combined business-to-business and business-to-customer experience. The owners are hands on at the facility and plan to employ seven (7) people, thou that number could swell to 13, at the new site, adding a significant number of new jobs and tax base to the City of Eyota, states Cathy Enerson Economic Development and Community Development Specialist. Kurt and Jennifer have moved from Michigan back to their home state of Minnesota. Jennifer is excited to be back home in the Rochester / Eyota area. Jennifer worked closely on the site selection, hiring their contractor, AB Systems, and with the City of Eyota. The Zetah’s experienced a smooth government process while working with Eyota’s government agencies. The new facility is located in People’s Electric Cooperative territory, with help from the City’s Economic Development Director, the Zetah’s brought their plans to People’s Electric cooperative’s staff to identify current and future cost savings. Zetcorp purchased two lots in the NW Investment Commercial District, for a total of 1.6 acres and will be located across from Prestige Auto.
Another recent addition to NW Investments includes B & C Plumbing, owned locally by Brian Halverson and Chad Schroeder, both highly experienced heating and plumbing contractors. Their construction project provides the City with 25 jobs, and a nearly half a million dollar investment in land and buildings. The EDA Director points out that in rural development adding 30 new jobs to a community the size of Eyota, population 2040, is equivalent to 1,500 new jobs to a City with a population the size of Rochester.

While driving around Eyota, you will find a number of other improvement projects throughout the community, which at times appears to be large piles of dirt! Eyota’s Mayor Tyrel Clark explains what looks like eruptions within the City of Eyota is progress. 2015 Eyota projects include: street and infrastructure improvements in the historic downtown, a new roundabout at the intersection of Hwy 14 and Hwy 42, the completion of Safe Routes to Schools, a $355,000 grant project that provides residents with 2 miles of walkability in the areas located within walking distance to the schools, the completion of the public walking trail along Hwy 42, a $70,000 grant project, the new athletic field which includes a turf surfaced football field, the addition to the elementary school, and recent renovations at Arbor Gardens Senior Living Center, which added Memory Care, providing residents with more opportunities to age in place.

2014 CEDA Annual Report

Our 2014 Annual Report is now available by clicking the link below!

CEDA 2014 Annual Report


CEDA One of Six Finalists for $15,000

F&M Community Bank, Community and Economic Development Associates to Compete for $15,000 Strong Communities Award

(Chatfield, Minnesota) – The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines (FHLB Des Moines) is excited to announce that F&M Community Bank and Community and Economic Development Associates have been selected as one of six Strong Communities Award finalists vying for the opportunity to receive $15,000.

FHLB Des Moines challenges communities to rally behind their community’s project during a public vote from July 21-August 1 on Strengthening Communities Together™ at The finalist receiving the most votes will be awarded a $15,000 stipend to support small business and economic development growth in their community.

FHLB Des Moines member F&M Community Bank teamed up with Community and Economic Development Associates to retain and expand on an industrial project in Chatfield, Minnesota. F&M Community Bank, Community and Economic Development Associates and other community partners prevented one of the community’s largest industrial employers, EZ Fabricating, from relocating operations by financing construction and public improvement costs.

The retention of EZ Fabricating has created new full-time jobs, grown the tax base and helped create a revolving loan fund for future projects.

The Strong Communities Award honors the projects, the people and the programs that promote small business growth and retention in their communities.

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The Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines is a wholesale cooperative bank that provides low-cost short and long-term funding and community lending to more than 1,200 members, including commercial banks, saving institutions, credit unions and insurance companies. The Bank is wholly owned by its members and receives no taxpayer funding. The Des Moines Bank serves Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota and South Dakota and is one of twelve regional Banks that make up the Federal Home Loan Bank System.

Read the full Strong Communities Award Press Release.

2013 CEDA Annual Report

CEDA’s full 2013 annual report is available to view or download at the following link:

2013 Annual Report