EDA discusses bakery, locker options

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Spring Valley’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) discussed a couple new projects during its August meeting last Wednesday morning, Aug. 7, with a short agenda.

Economic development director Chris Hahn brought several items of interest to his second meeting with the EDA, including that there has been serious interest expressed by local residents in reopening the Spring Valley Bakery, that Valley Butchery is anticipating remodeling its retail space and that he was working on the budgeting process for the coming year. 

The Spring Valley Bakery building was up for an auction last Saturday, and Hahn said several people have expressed interest, including a local couple that has already purchased quite a bit of equipment as well as a bakery operating in another city in southeastern Minnesota. The two local people contacted him about purchasing the bakery and he dropped off an application for revolving loan funding and information for grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF) and others that may be available for them. 

Grover Auctions held the sale on Aug. 10 and there were several people present to look at the building, but no offers were made.

Also Valley Butchery got a USDA grant for expansion of the current location, along the south side of the building, for retail (see related story).  Rusty and Tanner Hellickson are submitting a building permit to the city.     

The EDA reviewed its revolving loan funds, discussing how many are reaching maturity and will be closed out in the next month, then went on to hear Hahn highlight the proposed 2020 budget, which includes a 3 percent increase for Community and Economic Development Associates’ (CEDA) contract with the EDA, an additional $2,500 for marketing Spring Valley, and a 3 percent across the board increase for all line items, raising it from $43,234 in 2019 to $47,027.75 in 2020.  The marketing funding may be invested in print materials – such as a visitors’ or new resident guide, according to Hahn – but EDA members questioned whether a 3 percent increase for every budget line item would be needed, and the EDA concluded that if the group is cautious about its expenditures, it should be able to reduce that proposed amount to save money in the end.    

The Fillmore County housing study that has been a topic of discussion will be completed at the end of this month, noted Hahn, and he told the EDA members he would forward the information gleaned to them. He also told them that Strong Towns, which was listed on the agenda as “an organization that promotes fiscal responsibility in community development,” is hosting an event in Rochester on Sept. 26 and that he would offer further registration information on the meeting. 

In other matters, the grant that Spring Valley received from SMIF for a small business entrepreneurship educational toolkit administered by Rochester Community and Technical College (RCTC) is in the EDA’s hands, but Hahn stated that he met with Jenifer Wilson of RCTC to discuss the final educational module on succession planning.  He suggested that the EDA withhold the final amount of $5,000, for which it received a bill due Aug. 5, until the project is completed.   

The EDA’s next meeting is set for Wednesday, Sept. 4, at 7 a.m. at City Hall.