The Spring Grove EDA will soon have some extra resources to work with. That's because the city of Spring Grove has been accepted for a new Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) grant.

The EDA will take the lead in managing a new program that will be partially funded by the SMIF grant, aimed at aiding and encouraging local entrepreneurs.

Administered under SMIF's Community Growth Initiative program, the funding will take the form of a matching grant of up to $20,000 with an additional stipend of up to $5,000 available to help with development costs, such as hiring a coordinator to oversee the program and meeting expenses.

The EDA will be responsible for a "secure match" of the $20,000 SMIF is making available. At least 25 percent of that must be in the form of cash support. Payment in kind, such as providing meeting space, can be applied to the rest of the city's share.

City Administrator Theresa Coleman told EDA board members about the development at their Sept. 25 meeting.

"We were told yesterday that we were selected," she reported. "The city of Lanesboro participated in a similar grant process, but this one is specifically targeting entrepreneurship."

"This all starts with a meeting of the 'leadership team'. That group is just to help facilitate a bigger community meeting. Your entire community will be invited to a couple events to talk about how they envision using the assets the community already has to encourage entrepreneurship and then go from there."

SMIF will train the 10-20 member "core leadership team" on a variety of topics, including asset-based community development, project planning, and implementation.

Coleman brought a list of 10 individuals who have so far been asked to serve on the leadership team.

Besides herself (representing government), the group includes two EDA members (Howard Deters and JC Nerstad), along with other leaders from business, technology, the arts and a pastor. Council member Rachel Storlie is listed as the community coordinator.

A wide range of projects could be undertaken, according to the grant application. Those include providing facilities for start-ups, providing access to technology, computer classes, improved parking and signage, "shop local" promotions, tourism promotions, ways to welcome new businesses, and business training for entrepreneurs.

Coleman to attend workshop

Other than approving last month's minutes, the only motion commissioners made was to allow Coleman to attend the Christian Community Development Conference in Minneapolis on Sept. 27-29.

Rural and small city leadership workshops are on the agenda, she explained.

During the financial review portion of the meeting, members noted that one of their larger loans is due to be paid off on Nov. 1. That will place $50,000 back into the revolving loan fund.

Main St. Marketing continues

Prior to the regular meeting, three business leaders attended the Main Street Marketing session with commissioners.

Detour Dollars drawings that will be held during next year's road construction, the new Spring Grove tourism map/brochure and other advertising strategies were discussed.

The first 1,000 copies of this year's brochure will soon be printed, designer Robin Bartell stated.

In March or April a second printing will focus on the Main Street reconstruction project, including Detour Dollars promotions.

The subject of signage carried over into the regular agenda from the marketing meeting.

Bartell was asked to investigate the cost of placing advertisements on trailers that can be parked in strategic locations along with more permanent locations on the sides of buildings.

"You really need to be careful what you put on a building," Bartell cautioned. "It's more of a long-term thing."

Next meeting date changed

The next Spring Grove Main Street Marketing meeting and EDA meeting has moved to the fifth Tuesday in October at 7 p.m. on Oct. 30.