Board discusses past year’s projects and activities, and numerous ideas, projects, and topics they would propose to set as goals for the coming year.

In January each year, the EDA Board has an annual planning meeting—held in the evening so the meeting time can be extended to a couple of hours. They discuss the past year’s projects and activities, and numerous ideas, projects, and topics they would propose to set as goals for the coming year.

Prior to the planning portion of the meeting, officers were elected and the financial and EDA Coordinator reports were given. Kathy Haala was reelected as Chair, Mike Carr as Vice-Chair, and Gary Windschitl as Secretary. Joann Schmidt and Nathan Stevermer are the City Council representatives on the EDA Board. Councilors Doug Pelzel and Larry Braun were also in attendance at this meeting. I supplied the Board with the monthly financial reports on all EDA funds and a summary on the past year’s financial activities. There are currently 10 EDA Revolving Loan Fund loans for gap financing. It was noted that as of eight years ago, there were numerous delinquent EDA RLF loans, but as of 2018, there is now only one delinquent loan that we will be addressing with assistance from the city attorney, and two that will be current within the next three months—as double payments have been made over the course of the past few years. So within the next year, I am confident that we will be current with all dispersed EDA RLF loans. There are currently seven Downtown Rehab Improvement Loans and all are current.

I summarized the past EDA goals from 2010-2017 with the Board, and pointed out that the success rate of the goals that have been set over the past eight years was very high. These include developing three new EDA programs for businesses to use, the development and completion of Veteran’s Park, the success of getting delinquent loans current, the completion of Business Retention and Expansion and Housing Studies, the development of the Snow addition and businesses there, numerous improvements with downtown businesses through the DRIP and Sign & Awning Programs, and the implementation and continued efforts of a locally run Early Childcare facility.

The Board spent the remainder of the meeting discussing planning meeting topics. These included:

•Addressing the current needs in workforce, elderly, residential, low income, and market rate housing. The EDA would like to begin cooperative work with the local HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) to address these needs.

•The Downtown District and targeting specific properties for rehab, possible incubator locations, recommendation for a levy, and setting a five-year plan to address all of the related issues concerning the downtown and Main Street.

•The needs for continued efforts with an Early Childcare Facility, Minnesota Main Street, Green Step Cities, business construction, and the continued development of the Snow additions were also discussed.

After discussion of all of these topics the Board set the following goals for 2018, in this order:

Goal #1) To develop a five-year plan that will address and implement action in dealing with the needs of the downtown district. It was noted that there were many community surveys that had citizens voicing the need to address the downtown.

Goal #2) Begin work related to partnering with the HRA, and other possible investors, in dealing with the housing shortage. The results of a recent housing study noted the needs for housing in all areas.

Goal #3) Continue to move forward with the completion of the Early Childcare facility and having it be run and controlled by the newly established local non-profit organization. This is another one of the great needs in our community.

The EDA strives to move forward in a positive manner, by maintaining and improving the community through retention and growth of business, industry and services. As always, the EDA strives to keep all activity transparent and open to public knowledge, with the understanding that there are time frames during projects where certain information has to remain confidential until the completion of the project. If anyone has any questions, wants factual information, or would like more details on any of the topics, please feel free to contact me.