Article by: Chris Giesen
The City of Chatfield with the help of CEDA Vice President Chris Giesen recently secured a $177,000 Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant from Minnesota DEED to help pave Industrial Drive in southwest Chatfield, one of the last gravel road sections in the city, which will support an expansion at one of Tuohy Furniture’s manufacturing facilities. While not covered by the grant, this project also gave the city the opportunity to improve water and sewer services to 9 commercial lots in order to make them developable.
While Giesen was speaking about this development opportunity on CEDA’s annual Regional Development Tour this past June the project caught the attention of tour participant Pat Boyle of MiEnergy, one of Chatfield’s electric cooperatives. At the time of the Regional Development Tour, the city had not made a decision on whether to move forward with the improvement project or not. Giesen explained to the tour group that it would be a very costly project – which is why the roadway had remained gravel for so many years. At the reception after the tour Boyle mentioned to Giesen that MiEnergy Cooperative might be able to help with zero percent financing through one of their revolving loan programs. Giesen and Chatfield City Clerk Joel Young met with Boyle a few days later to discuss the loan program and the application process and quickly realized it was a fit.
Giesen applied for the MiEnergy loan and was approved for $300,000 at 0% interest for 10 years, which is estimated to save Chatfield taxpayers $40,000-$50,000 dollars in interest expenses. “Pat and MiEnergy were great to work with” said Giesen, “this loan will allow the city to not only improve the roadway but also improve water, sanitary sewer, and storm sewer and allow us to have 9 additional commercial lots to market and sell. MiEnergy’s assistance will also help support the surrounding residential neighborhood. We are looking forward to utilizing their loan program again on future projects.”
Construction started after Labor Day and should be driveable by winter, with the project being finished in early summer 2018.