Excerpts from CEDA’s most recent newsletter:
The agency has taken on several new projects and communities since our last newsletter. In April the Houston County EDA initiated a contract with CEDA for economic development staffing. CEDA is now administering the Red Wing HRA’s Small Cities Development Program grant for commercial rehab. The City of Boscobel, Wisconsin hired CEDA to complete its Comprehensive Plan. The agency also began economic development services for the City of Oronoco and the City of Claremont on an as-needed basis. Last month, CEDA team members also attended and had a booth at the League of Minnesota Cities’ Annual Conference in St. Paul and the Economic Development Association of Minnesota’s Summer Conference in Duluth.
Both public and private funds will contribute towards a new Main Street Revitalization Project in Spring Valley, MN. CEDA staff members Michelle Vrieze and Cathy Enerson worked together to author a Small Cities Development Program grant application to the MN Department of Employment & Economic Development. In early June the city was notified the $539,750 grant was approved. The SCDP funds will be used for the rehabilitation of 15 commercial buildings and 14 rental units above commercial spaces. Other funds for the commercial rehab will come from the local EDA and the property owners.
The rental rehab efforts will be advanced with a $77,000 grant from the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund (GMHF), a statewide non-profit agency that invests in affordable housing. GMHF chose Spring Valley as a pilot project to establish a revolving loan fund (RLF) that will assist property owners with revitalizing rental units above their commercial spaces. This GMHF and SCDP funds will be used in tandem. When commercial property owners participate with the SCDP project, they can access the two-percent interest GMHF RLF as down payment funding for the loan portion of the SCDP funding. There is a maximum RLF loan of $5,500 per apartment. Each qualifying rental unit can qualify for up to $18,000 in total assistance.
Chatfield awarded BDPI Grant
Under the lead of CEDA’s Chris Giesen, the City of Chatfield, MN authored and was awarded a $500,000 Greater MN Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant from the MN Department of Employment & Economic Development to install public infrastructure and build a 40-acre industrial park. The total project is about $4.5 million but the grant will help with the first phase which is expected to cost $1.7 million. Chatfield has very limited industrial lots because of its unique geography and the new industrial park will help by providing a place for existing or new businesses to grow. The CEDA team also pulled together on a very tight time frame to apply for the $500,000 federal EDA grant in early June.
Lyle receives grant with CEDA’s assistance
CEDA successfully completed its first-ever project with the City of Lyle, a rural city of 552 in Mower County, MN. Upon receiving word that funding remained for the Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program through the MN Department of Employment & Economic Development, CEDA staff was able to meet a tight deadline to submit an application on behalf of Lyle. The result was a $98,490 grant award to the city.
City Clerk Diana Witt said, “The City of Lyle is extremely happy and excited to announce the expansion of local business Agri-Steel, owned by Jeff Helle and Brian Helle. This business expansion means a local business is growing, which in itself is awesome, and it is the first business to be built in the city’s commercial district, and a few additional jobs will be created in our community.”
The grant will assist Agri-Steel with building a 19,000 square foot expansion and will allow for future industrial development by extending public utilities to the development area. The total cost for the infrastructure extension is $196,980.
Spring Valley introduces Karma Cash
“What goes around comes around!” Karma Cash is acollaborative project between Spring Valley’s Economic Development Authority and the Chamber of Commerce that resulted from the “Buy Local” campaign. The project will demonstrate how local spending impacts the economic layers within the City of Spring Valley. Ten businesses will recirculate Spring Valley money. Articles about each business will appear in the local paper. The cooperation of local business owners is key–via their spending the businesses will demonstrate to the public how important it is to reinvest in the community.
Harmony receives grant for public art
CEDA staff member Chris Giesen authored and was awarded a $10,000 Arts and Cultural Heritage grant from the Southeastern MN Arts Council for two life-sized wood-carved musician statues to be placed in public areas in town. The statues are the 2nd and 3rd installments in a 5-piece project called “Musicians of Harmony.” Stanley “Slim” Maroushek is the artist and has produced many similar carvings for the city to display as public art. He is also the proprietor of Slim’s Woodshed in Harmony, which is home to the largest wood carving museum in the United States. He has been featured in numerous publications including “Ripley’s Believe it or Not!” as well as featured reports by WCCO-TV and KSTP-TV.
Eyota seeks input on use of sales tax funds
The Eyota Economic Development Authority held a public meeting in June to gather input on potential uses for Eyota’s portion of Rochester’s sales tax revenue. In all, 17 projects were presented. Suggested projects included business incentives, a community center, a pool, a heath care facility, ball field lighting, a library, and a new ambulance building. Recently, the Rochester City Council approved the disbursement of funds, and Eyota will receive approximately $211,000 of the sales tax revenue. With that good news, the EDA will move ahead with vetting the list of projects identified through last month’s valuable community meeting.
Stewartville is “Shovel-Ready“
The State of Minnesota has certified the Stewartville EDA’s Schumann Business Park as “Shovel-Ready.” Eight lots are available starting at $3/square foot, which includes all assessments and most development fees.
The Stewartville EDA established a building rebate program where property owners can qualify for a $5,000 cash rebate after a building of at least $100,000 in value is built on an empty lot. Commercial and some multi-family buildings qualify for a $7,500 cash rebate. The EDA invested $200,000 in the program, which runs for 2 years, until the funds run out, or the city ends the program.
Lewiston partners to restore prairies
The City of Lewiston, MN, and in particular its Economic Development Authority directed by CEDA’s Brian Moehnke, has been working closely with the Winona County Soil & Water Conservation District, the local Department of Natural Resources office, Trout Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and the Lewiston Sportsmen’s Club to enhance the city’s former lagoon site for recreational and educational uses. Recently, the local chapter of Pheasants Forever and the Winona County Soil & Water Conservation District approved funds towards prairie restoration activities at the site. These activities encompass the first phase of the project with the eventual goal of increasing access for visitors to view the area’s natural beauty and learn more about its plants and wildlife. The site has already become known for attracting a great variety of birds.
The above photo of swans on the pond was taken in April 2013 by Mark Reisetter of Trout Unlimited who has also been an advisor to the pond and prairie restoration project.
Preston begins “Spare Change” Program
The Preston Economic Development Authority collaborated with the City of Preston’s Public Utility to create a Spare Change program. Utility customers choose to participate in this voluntary program by rounding up each month’s utility bill, with the additional cents considered a tax-deductible donation. The most a customer could contribute is $11.88 per year, but the average will be about $6.00 per year. If every customer were to participate, Spare Change could raise $4,500 each year, which will then be granted to local projects. The first project will be the city’s historical walking tour–a joint project between the EDA and the Historical Society that begins this month.
Dodge County companies continue growth
The Dodge County Economic Development Authority and County Board approved tax abatement to assist two companies with their expansion plans. Both Ellingson Companies and Hodgman Drainage Company will be building new facilities valued at over $1 million each.
The Dodge County EDA is also wrapping up the Food Hub Study and assisted in a Regional Economic Development Plan for the Destination Medical Center.
CEDA welcomes newest employee
Rick Howden became CEDA’s newest team member in April 2013. Rick is the Economic Development Coordinator for the Houston County Economic Development Authority, and he works with other communities on specific projects. Rick’s past experience includes working as a field representative for Congressman Tim Walz for more than three years. He was the Congressman’s liaison on business, industry and energy issues, including policy outreach and development, and he worked with federal agencies on behalf of residents and communities following the severe flooding in southeastern Minnesota. Rick’s areas of expertise are community outreach, public policy and coalition building. His education includes a BS in Business Administration with a minor in Political Science from Winona State University. CEDA now employs 16 professionals working in communities throughout the tri-state region.