The July EDA Board meeting began with an update and report on Little Sprouts Learning Center, from consultant Brad Devos. He reported that expenses have been reduced and that enrollment has also declined somewhat over the summer months. He stated that there are continuing efforts on marketing for the center, and they are working on some additional ways to let parents know about the opportunity to have their children cared for here in our community. The center also recently completed a successful fundraising event, and they are currently beginning another major project—the raffle of a four-wheeler and cash prizes, with the proceeds going to the operation of the center.

The EDA Board continued the conversation about childcare in the community after Brad was excused from the meeting. We are currently looking at developing a program to assist home childcare providers with their childcare properties. The Board continues looking at ways to address the need and availability of childcare in Sleepy Eye.

The Board again discussed and evaluated the bids on landscaping and preliminary drawings of the property on the corner of Highways 4 and 14. The Board accepted the bid from Redwood Falls Nursery and will now begin working with the contractor on the final design and drawing of the area. The Board is anticipating work to begin in this area yet this summer.

Discussion was held again involving the cemetery property that the city owns in Mitchell, S.D. I reported to the Board that I had a couple of conversations with the previous investors, who had voiced some interest in the property, but were no longer interested in it. I contacted a realtor from Mitchell and have begun a conversation regarding the possible sale of the property.

In addition to providing the EDA Board with the financial reports on the four current and available EDA programs, I also provided the Board with a history of all the EDA loans that have ever been made.

Since the EDA was established, the history and success of the EDA programs and loans can be summarized as follows:

•A total of 25 SCDP (Small Cities Development Program) loans have been made, with a 92% repayment success rate.

•A total of 61 RLF (Revolving Loan Fund) and DRIP (Downtown Rehabilitation Incentive Program) funds have been distributed since 1993 to the present, with a 80% repayment success rate.

•There has been approximately $1.7 million distributed in the total loan funds over the years, with almost $170,000 of interest earned and returned to the programs for redistribution.

•There are an additional 20 loans that are active and current in the repayment process at this time.

A letter was submitted to the EDA regarding possible interest in the purchase and demolition of the old Orchid Inn property. The EDA Board has taken into consideration this proposal and is gathering more information on this idea and what it would all involve. More discussion will take place at the next Board meeting.

The Board tabled discussion on the UM Resilient Communities Project information.

Finally, the Board began looking at the present EDA programs and began the process of revising and updating the programs, restructuring the criteria on certain programs to accommodate a larger spectrum of possible applications.

As always, anyone with questions, or who wants more information on current EDA activities, please contact me at 794-5636 or eda@sleepyeye-mn.com