EDA rolling out business toolkit

Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Spring Valley’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) finished business in record time last Wednesday, Oct. 2, as it managed expenses, reviewed its revolving loan list and heard a quick update on its various initiatives from economic development director Chris Hahn, of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA). 

The EDA paid the $6,350 quarterly CEDA bill that keeps Hahn in the city’s employ, then went on to hear that there had been no housing or business incubation assistance requests over the past month. 

Hahn inquired about how the EDA’s membership wanted to go about making the Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation’s (SMIF) small business toolkit available to the business community in Spring Valley, as it is free to Spring Valley business owners because Spring Valley was chosen for a SMIF grant for the educational bundle that can help current and potential business owners get loans for their businesses.  Hahn noted that other communities’ business owners have to pay for access to the educational modules, but that the program is “a great toolkit” that will be useful. 

EDA President Kim Brown wanted to know if the electronic tokens that are distributed to users would be taken up and thereby short someone else of them if the EDA were to use them. 

Hahn replied that the tokens are simply a means to getting into the program’s portal, after which users create an account.  As conversation moved on, he related that getting the information to local banks could be beneficial to anyone who comes to a bank to ask for a loan.

Hahn went on to speak about the Rural Entrepreneurship Venture (REV) meeting he would attend later that day in Owatonna to be updated on REV’s tenets, and about the Fillmore County housing study that has been preliminarily released. 

“It has really good information about cost versus market when we’re talking about affordable housing,” he said. He added that he’s awaiting the final findings. 

The EDA and the City Council had held a joint meeting earlier in September to address the proposed platting of 10 lots on the northwest end of town, but the City Council is working on the matter yet, according to city administrator Deb Zimmer. 

Housing incentives were raised as the next topic, and Brown and Zimmer perused what has been done in the past – including housing incentives made available to parents who enroll their children in the Kingsland school district and those who received incentives for the purchase of appliances from local appliance vendors. 

Lastly, EDA member Jason Runck suggested that the EDA find out before future meetings what the expiration date on the Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) monies is because action needs to be taken to use those funds. He questioned whether the city would like to spend them on a daycare as originally proposed, or on other things if allowable.