Mantorville Receives $29,000 USDA Rural Development Grant

Mantorville MN

Article by Chris Giesen

The Mantorville Economic Development Authority recently received word that its Rural Business Enterprise Grant application was funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Rural Development office.   The EDA requested $29,000, of which all was funded, and committed another $31,000 of EDA funds to establish a revolving loan fund for qualifying small businesses in the community.  After an unsuccessful application in 2011, CEDA reapplied this spring at no cost to the community.  CEDA Community and Business Development Specialist Chris Giesen assisted the Mantorville EDA with the application.  “This will be a great new tool for businesses in Mantorville.   USDA was very helpful through the entire process,” Giesen said.  “Now Mantorville is working on getting the word out that these loan funds are available,” he continued.

The Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD) Appoints New Director

Article by CEDA

The Center for Rural Policy and Development (CRPD) Board of Directors has announced the appointment of Ron Zeigler, CEO/President of Community and Economic Development Associates, to the Board of Directors.  The CRPD, based in St. Peter, Minnesota., is a non-partisan, not-for-profit policy research organization dedicated to benefitingMinnesotaby providing its policy makers with an unbiased evaluation of issues from a rural perspective. To fulfill this mission, CRPD works with academic and non-academic researchers from throughout the state to design and conduct research projects.

The Center’s Board Members come from all over the state, representing a variety of interests. Thirteen are appointed by the Governor and two are appointed by the House and Senate leadership; all members represent different aspects of ruralMinnesota. Remaining members consist of five at large positions and are nominated then voted on by the Board Members themselves. The Board works closely with staff to help guide the direction of the Center, to set research priorities and to help make the Center a presence in the rural policy community.

Ron Zeigler states, “I am excited to be a part of the Center for Rural Policy to help provide a rural perspective to not only the Board but the policy makers of our state.”

Business & Entrepreneurial Support Team (BEST) of Waseca Area Feasibility Study Looks to Connect the Economic Communitys

Waseca County MN

Article by Andrew Barbes

Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) is pleased to have had the chance to meet with the Business & Entrepreneurial Support Team (BEST) of Waseca Area and help these community leaders take the next step in improving Waseca County. BEST applied for and was awarded a $5,000 grant through AgStar to research, analyze, and compose a feasibility study, which will include the following elements:

  • Organizational history/overview
  • Current activity/status and financial considerations
  • Future structural/organizational models
  • Future financial considerations
  • Measuring success

BEST is structured as a non-profit 501(c) (3) corporation, organized to establish a common leadership umbrella representing public/private sectors including the communities of Janesville, New Richland, Waldorf, Waseca, and Waseca County.

BEST’s mission is to “lead collaborative efforts by coordinating activities that link recourses to attract, retain, promote economically sound industry and commerce to create net job growth that benefits the surrounding area.” BEST intends to serve this mission with the following goals:

  • Identification of financial resources and grants
  • Grow the tax base
  • Serve as a rapid response team
  • Create an infrastructure plan
  • Develop the West/South interchange

Currently BEST is looking to secure funding for operations and start economic development projects within Waseca County. BEST will be using the feasibility study as a roadmap for their organizations future.

Spring Valley is Wrapping up the RBEG Offering Technical Assistance and Helping Local Businesses

Spring Valley MN

Article by Cathy Enerson

This year, the Spring Valley EDA wrapped up it’s work with the USDA’s, Rural Business Economic Growth grant program. The grant offers technical assistance for business expansion within the City limits of Spring Valley. In this case, the City was in need of an affordable solution that would allow them to compete successfully for businesses against neighboring cities and states whom currently have not adopted the Minnesota state building code requirements. The grant paid for up to $10,000 in engineered drawings and blue print assistance, which one business identified can cost up to 10 -20% of the overall project costs. Since 2010, three local businesses expanded using USDA grant funds. Marzolf Implements at their current location, AMD, a national insulation manufacturing and distribution facility, added onto their current building at the industrial park, REKK and the land holding company for AMD built a third addition onto the existing facility in the industrial park.  Overall it was a successful grant project for the City. A total of 36 jobs were retained or created using $20,000 dollars of USDA funds paired with $5,000 of EDA funds. As a comparison, what was accomplished in a community the size of Spring Valley is the same as adding or retaining 2,160 jobs in a community like Rochester or Lakeville, MN.

Currently, the EDA is focusing on developing economic tools aimed at revitalizing downtown Spring Valley. The focus is to renovate the entire structure of the buildings downtown, including apartments and commercial spaces. The focus for the commercial building spaces is to repair code violations, and make facade and energy improvements. The EDA developed a 1% revolving loan fund to aide the owners of the commercial spaces. The City will apply for a Small Cities Block Grant to compliment the revolving loan. A proposal was submitted to Greater Minnesota Housing Agency requesting that they assist with the downtown apartment revitalization and technical assistance for the design work. The program is currently under review since it would be a pilot program for both entities.  Beyond creating financial tools the EDA has additionally approved that Cathy Enerson of CEDA, as EDA Director organize the downtown revitalization project, Cathy has been holding quarterly meetings to assist with the many businesses and services groups interested in revitalization. This September, Cathy Enerson, EDA Director, Teresa McCormick of Urban Studios and Michelle Vrieize of CEDA’s(Small Cities Block Grants) will gather with the downtown business owners to discuss the design work and Small Cities Block Grant program.

Preston Housing Incentives Roll out with Approval for Five Homeowners and more..

Preston MN

Article by Cathy Enerson

Preston’s housing incentive programs rolled out this spring with the approval of five (5) housing incentives. Three housing applications were approved and will assist with housing rehabilitation projects in excess of $5,000 each. These projects will improve the homes and their overall energy consumption.  The EDA collaborated with the Parks Department, Utilities,  and a private business contribution from the Preston Golf Course to create the incentives. Two (2) existing home purchase incentives were also approved, welcoming residents into the community. The incentives provide funds to assist and reinforce shopping locally. Three (3) new construction incentives, in excess of $3,000 remain for 2012. In addition to working on housing incentives the EDA continues to prepare to purchase properties and remove dilapidated structures in a commercial area of Preston. The outcome will be rehabilitation along the Root River, highlighting the features of the Driftless area. The EDA supports the efforts to expand the National Trout Center from its current location to the redeveloped area along the Root River. Last month, Cathy Enerson of CEDA, assisted in providing details for a grant that was submitted by the City to the Minnesota Sam’s Lessard Legacy Fund for redevelopment of the Root River area within the City of Preston.

Businesses Open Their Doors with the Help of Savvy Entrepreneurs, Willing Lenders and Available Workforce

Howard County IA 

Article by Jason Passmore

The first half of 2012 has seen a number of businesses open their doors with the help of savvy entrepreneurs, willing lenders, available workforce and a little nudge from Howard County Business & Tourism. Cresco Chamber of Commerce (a division of HCBT) has held five ribbon cuttings for new businesses in the last month alone with more scheduled this summer.

A new business highlight utilizing one of HCBT’s loan funds is, Cresco Fuels, Inc. This pay at the pump fuel station offers diesel, bio diesel, and blended ethanol options not offered in a 60 mile radius of Cresco.

As the site develops, four unique aspects of this business become obvious. The location is desirable, right off Highway 9, and allows vehicles space to maneuver and get around. Many fuel stations are landlocked within our communities and do not have adequate room for large vehicles. Cresco Fuels took this in to account and presents a safer setting for all vehicles. Two, the actual holding tanks are above ground and authorize easier refueling, inspection, and are better for the surrounding environment. The third unique aspect of this new business is the customer’s ability to choose from a variety of blends and not just the one E85 we often see. Fourth and maybe even more unique, this business is locally owned! We anticipate Cresco Fuels will be good for the environment, business and agriculture, as well as residents and visitors alike.

Stewartville EDA Expands Hours with CEDA

Stewartville MN

Article by Chris Giesen

The Stewartville Economic Development Authority has expanded their contract with CEDA for economic development services.  “There are a lot of opportunities in Stewartville,” said CEDA Community and Business Development Specialist Chris Giesen who is assisting Stewartville.  “The EDA has really focused on marketing the community; expanding upon the variety of businesses in the community while providing support to current businesses so that they can continue to grow,” he said.  “One new program is a 5% ‘finders’ fee’ being offered for the successful sale of land in the Schumann Business Park or other available city properties.  Licensed real estate agents are now able to take a small commission based on the sale price if they bring a business to town.”

Eyota Working Towards a Welcome Sign

Eyota MN

Article by Cathy Enerson

            What to do when a major highway bypasses your downtown is an ongoing issue for many communities. In Eyota Highway 42 and Highway 14 each boarder the historic downtown, however neither highway runs through the historic business district. Another issue is the downtown can’t be easily seen from the highways. The Eyota Economic Development Authority has purchased and is using way finding signs to direct visitors to businesses and public facilities located in the historic downtown. The EDA did long term planning for additional signage throughout the city including the preliminary planning, surveying and budgeting for a City entrance sign.


The city of Eyota also has had a very positive working relationship with AgStar lately. AgStar was able to assist the Eyota EDA with funding needed for a feasibility study on the City owned assisted living center known as Arbor Gardens. The purpose of the study is to gather demographics, compare nearby facilities and work towards continued improvements at Arbor Gardens. The EDA plans to use this data for land purchases, facility expansion needs, and to forecast what amenities the upcoming generations will request at assisted living centers. Wifi was recently added to the facility, but that is only a fraction of what will be expected by the new generation moving to assisted living centers. Eyota plans to stay current with the needs of future generations and will offer those entering the assisted living center a high quality of life.


Lanesboro & Mabel Received 2012 SCDP Grant for $449,000

Lanesboro and Mabel MN

Article by Michelle Vrieze

The Cities of Lanesboro and Mabel were awarded $449,000 for a 2012 Minnesota Small Cities Development Program grant.  The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development received a total of 73 applications and awarded 31 Minnesota communities a total of $16.85 million in grants.  CEDA was the author of this application and will also be the administrator of the funds.

These funds will be used for rehabilitating existing housing stock for low-to-moderate-income residents in the communities of Lanesboro and Mabel and will also address commercial revitalization in the Lanesboro downtown district.   Michelle Vrieze a Community and Business Development Specialist with CEDA stated “These funds help improve slum and blighted properties in small communities, where they could not otherwise afford, along with creating jobs for local contractors.”

CEDA Board of Directors Announces Two New Members

Chatfield MN 

The Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) Board of Directors is pleased to announce the appointment of two members to their Board of Directors – Dave Grewe, Senior Vice President/Senior Regional Lender/ SBA Manager, Merchants Bank – Winona, and Elaine Garry, CEO/President, People’s Energy Cooperative, Oronoco, MN.


Mr. Grewe has worked in the financial industry for the past 27 years.   Mr. Grewe’s experience with SBA financing will be a valuable asset to the organization and team members.

Ms. Garry possesses a Bachelor’s Degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Management (emphasis in Finance and Human Resources).  She is also certified as a Senior Human Resource Professional (SPHR).   Ms. Garry’s experience in rural utilities and human resources will also be a valuable asset to CEDA and our team members.


“With the addition of Mr. Grewe and Ms. Garry, the Board of Directors continues to be represented by leaders in many diverse fields including:  finance,  utilities, city administration,  retail,  health care and manufacturing”, states Ron Zeigler, CEO/President of CEDA.  “The Board of Directors is a visionary group that has a passion for improving the lives and economic conditions of those businesses, governments and people that choose to reside in ruralAmerica.”