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.