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.