Mantorville, MN Receives Festival Support for Stagecoach Days From CEDA-Authored SEMAC Grant

Article by: Abby Wright

Every year, the community of Historic Mantorville, MN celebrates its heritage as a Western, Victorian frontier town and Minnesota’s history as the 32nd state in the United States and the first to volunteer troops for the Union cause in the Civil War. Stagecoach Days, a two-day event, offers interactive games and activities for residents and visitors of all ages, in addition to contests, an array of vendors and refreshments, and free, live performances by Minnesota-grown artists, musicians, actors/re-enactors, and story-tellers.

In April, CEDA Community Grant Specialist, Abby Wright, authored a successful Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council (SEMAC) Small Towns/Rural Areas grant to help fund Stagecoach Days 2020, which was to debut a fiddle contest, rides in an authentic stagecoach, and Teddy Roosevelt actors and props.

Stagecoach Days is one of Mantorville’s largest annual events and community efforts. The festival is well-attended at an estimated 1,200 people over the two days, and the new additions will keep Stagecoach Days fun and fresh.

The $1,380 SEMAC award follows a $470 micro-grant award from the Minnesota State Fiddlers Association (MSFA), which Wright authored in February on behalf of the Mantorville Stagecoach Days Committee. The MSFA grant will fund about half of the total cost of the fiddle contest.

Stagecoach Days 2020 has been cancelled, but both SEMAC and the MSFA are retaining the grant awards for the next Stagecoach Days, which will take place the last weekend in June 2021.

CEDA Team in Cresco, IA Assists in Delivering Over 800 masks to Employees in the Community

Article by: Howard County Business and Tourism

While states and counties continue to prepare to reopen or start the reopening process, we understand businesses and customers want to take small steps to ensure everyone’s safety.  That’s why CEDA’s team at Howard County Business & Tourism teamed up with the City of Cresco, IA to do just that!  In an effort to outfit the Cresco businesses, namely retail and restaurants, uniform looking masks were created using two local businesses and a multitude of sewing volunteers with the words “Cresco Cares” printed on top.

“We wanted to be pro-active as we encourage customers and visitors to come to Howard County”, noted CEDA team member, Jason Passmore. “Partnering with the City of Cresco, we’ve handed out over 800 Cresco Cares masks to employees.” Cresco businesses want you to feel safe while shopping, and that’s what the Cresco Cares effort is all about.

A second opportunity presented itself during the mask making process, and that was when Fareway stepped to the plate, and through a simple grant application, donated $3,000 in gift cards to Cresco Chamber businesses.  CEDA staff at HCBT and the Cresco Chamber then had the honor to deliver both masks and $50 gift cards to local businesses, assisting in a small way to the COVID-19 recovery.


CEDA is excited to announce two promotions of team members Courtney Bergey Swanson and Mary Kennedy to new roles within the organization.

CEDA is excited to announce two promotions of team members Courtney Bergey Swanson and Mary
Kennedy to new roles within the organization.

Courtney Bergey Swanson has been promoted to CEDA Vice President of Development and
Collaborative Services and will serve on the CEDA Management Team along with Ron Zeigler,
CEO/President; Cris Gastner, Senior Vice President; Chris Giesen, Vice President Government Relations;
Jason Passmore, Vice President of Iowa Operations; and Joya Stetson, Vice President of Marketing and
Business Development.

“We could not be more excited to have Courtney join our management team,” says CEDA
President/CEO Ron Zeigler. “Courtney has taken everything that we have asked of her to a new level.
She has taken the role of Director of Community Engagement and has led the grants department to a
very high level of success.” Bergey Swanson will continue to lead the grants department, coordinating
efforts for CEDA and communities. Her role will expand into developing strategic partnerships and
representing CEDA in relevant collaborative efforts. Bergey Swanson joined the CEDA team in 2016.
Mary Kennedy will join the CEDA Leadership Team in the capacity of CEDA Director of Training and
Professional Development.

“We are extremely excited to have Mary join our leadership team,” Zeigler states. “Mary has taken on
the role of training for our team. She is building a structure for onboarding new team members and has
renewed the priority of training and professional development within the organization.” Kennedy joined
the CEDA team in 2018.

Zeigler continues, “CEDA’s greatest resource is our team members. We have 30 self-motivated, high-
energy, professional people with a passion for rural America working with and for you. Together we
can make a difference.”

CEDA Team Member assists with 55-Unit Apartment Project in Stewartville, MN

Article by: Heather Holmes

The City of Stewartville, MN and developer PGGM1, LLC officially kicked off the construction of a new apartment complex, Flats 55, across from Bear Cave Intermediate School in April.

CEDA team member Heather Holmes, who serves the City of Stewartville as Housing and Recreation Director, worked with the City, the developer and consultant Mike Bubany of David Drown Associates, Inc. to craft an agreement that provided up front funding to ensure the project could occur.

“It’s no secret there is a housing shortage,” says Bill Schimmel Jr., Stewartville City Administrator. “Flats 55 will provide much needed housing for new families and ultimately result in additional local economic activity that will benefit our community.”

The 73,000 sq. ft., 4-story building will sit on a parcel located on 17.5 acres of land purchased for the development of housing in Stewartville. Flats 55 will include 55 market rate one and two bedroom units and include both underground and surface lot parking. The developer hopes to complete construction by spring of 2021.

CEDA Team Member Helps Kasson, MN EDA Create COVID-19 Relief Program to be Layered with SBA, DEED Programs

Article by: Nicholas Ouellette

The Kasson Economic Development Authority (EDA) recently established the Short-Term Business Interruption Loan Program (STBIL) in response to the adverse effects COVID-19 has had on the local economy. Over the last month, the Kasson EDA discussed what they could do to assist businesses that have applied to Federal and State relief programs but were waiting to receive approval or funds. Earlier this year, the EDA had established and funded a new Revolving Loan Fund which serves as a source of gap financing for local businesses looking to startup or expand. The Board recognized the Revolving Loan Funds could be used to provide more immediate assistance to local businesses negatively affected by COVID-19. In order to move forward with the proposed program, the EDA surveyed a number of local businesses; those businesses that had been directly impacted by COVID-19 indicated an interest for loans through this type of program.

CEDA team member and Kasson EDA Staff  Nicholas Ouellette generated a separate set of guidelines under the umbrella of the Revolving Loan Fund Program which outlines the terms and eligibility for the STBIL program. The intent of the program is not to be a primary source of relief funds for businesses, but to be layered with existing support programs such as SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). Applicants must demonstrate they have applied for funds through the PPP, EIDL, or similar programs. The STBIL program provides 0% interest loans to businesses based on their fixed costs from February 2020, and funds are to be used for rent, leases, mortgages, utility bills, and employee salaries. Loans will be repaid at $100 a month and payments are deferred six months.

The program has been well received by the community, with multiple applications submitted to the EDA. The Loan Review Committee plans to meet at the end of each week to review and process applications. The EDA hopes this program will provide a positive boost to local businesses while they work through State and Federal relief applications.


Blue Earth Receives $400,000 CEDA-Authored Grant from Minnesota Housing Finance Agency

Article by: Mary Kennedy

CEDA representatives Annie Leibel and Mary Kennedy, who serve Faribault County and the City of Blue Earth respectively, worked together to write a grant request to Minnesota Housing Finance Agency (MHFA). The duo recently heard the exciting news that their request for $400,000 had been secured to assist in funding a 14-unit scattered-site, multi-family housing development project in the City of Blue Earth. The project, which has been in the planning phases for nearly a year, is scheduled to break ground sometime this spring. “The project has some really unique elements, which was at times is difficult to convey in the grant narrative. MHFA was great to work with and communicated with us to fully understand the complexities and details of our project,” said Kennedy. The developer of the project, APX Construction Group of Mankato, MN will be financing, and owning six of the 14 units, while the Blue Earth Housing and Redevelopment Authority will be financing and owning eight of the 14 units. This project has been a collaboration from the beginning; starting by taking findings from a 2019 housing study to attract a developer, to working with the developer to financially make the project feasible for both parties. New housing has been a top priority for the City Council and Blue Earth residents, and it can be difficult to finance a housing project that doesn’t negatively impact taxpayers. Leibel explained “the Workforce Housing Grant will supplement the capital needed to build out this project without any impact to tax payers, and will provide new, market rate housing for residents.” The project features a mix of rental and owner-occupied units, with a variety of amenities, and a range of price points to help accommodate any budget. The City expects the new housing options to be available for rent or purchase this fall.

CEDA Assists Millville Valley Meats in Opening for Meat Processing

Article by: Donna Mack

A new entrepreneur, Jason Hoffman is open for business in rural Millville providing quality and affordable meat and poultry processing services for farmers in the area.  Millville Valley Meats, 61301 North Country Road 11, a farm that has been in the Hoffman family for generations, is located a few miles outside of Millville, MN and 35 miles north of Rochester. It is surrounded by other small family farms and hunting properties.

Hoffman, an experienced meat processor, opened his business the day after the state inspection passed on February 21, 2020.  Hoffman commented, “It has been a long process and none of it would have been possible without Donna Mack’s help. Thank you very much to Donna for all she has done!! My door is always open to you.”  Mack is a CEDA Community and Business Development Specialist.

As a child, Hoffman helped his grandparent’s process poultry every day throughout the summer. Hoffman also helped process meat at his family farm where his father designed and founded the meat processing business, Hoffman Processing, in 1990 and operated it for 15 years. Hoffman continued to gain experience working at local meat processors in Goodview and Lake City before opening his own facility.

As a personal investment in purchasing the family farm, Hoffman has always wanted to modernize his father’s meat processing operation and help out the neighboring farmers and hunters. With this desire, Hoffman came to CEDA for assistance.  Mack was able to provide a great deal of assistance for Hoffman and his wife, Missy Hoffman,  in preparation of their financial projections for the lender application process.

Hoffman  has a strong belief in agricultural entities and felt there was a high need for more meat processing facilities in the area. Therefore, Hoffman and Mack visited with some lenders, and Hoffman decided Compeer Financial was most helpful in working with an agriculture business with their lending program. Compeer assisted him in purchasing new, upgraded and modernized equipment which is necessary to meet health inspections for food safety. The Hoffman’s facility is operating safely, effectively and efficiently. Hoffman is processing beef, pork, lamb, chicken and deer.

Mack, Community and Business Development Specialist with CEDA stated, “In my time with Jason assisting him in the planning and the start-up of a new business in agriculture, he has shown me that he is goal-oriented, personable and skilled in his trade. He aims to be a successful businessman, and has a goal to help farmers receive quality finished products with their investments.”

The pandemic impact on our economy is happening now in our communities, at large meat processing companies, and on farms across the country needing somewhere to take their animals. The resilience of our farm and food system is an essential factor in determining our success in responding to this pandemic. Now is the time for critical investments in agricultural food systems by taking proactive measures toward making our food and agriculture more resilient and sustainable. Investing in farm to table will bring a positive effect to the local area by connecting farmers to Millville Valley Meats.

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.