Spring Grove EDA (Economic Development Authority) members listened to a presentation by Ron Zeigler, president/CEO of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) on Feb. 26.

Ziegler gave an overview of his organization, which began in southeastern Minnesota and now serves surrounding communities in Iowa and Wisconsin as well.

Since the city of Spring Grove eliminated the post of city administrator, the EDA has not had the services of Theresa Coleman as its executive director.

Ziegler told the board that CEDA could fulfill those duties at any level of staffing that they wish. The company is a 501(c)3 private non-profit, he added.

"The whole emphasis behind our company is just trying to make rural America a better place to live," Ziegler said.

EDA President Howard Deters asked if CEDA could simply provide secretarial duties for the organization.

"In all of our communities, typically our staff is responsible for setting your agendas, taking and writing minutes, setting up board packets, financial reports, making sure there's a quorum," Ziegler replied.

"But, I think you wouldn't want to hire us just to do that. I think there's much more that we can bring to the table than just doing the administrative aspect of it."

Grant writing and grant administration, providing a "business retention/expansion study" and creating a work plan are just a few of the additional things that CEDA can provide, Ziegler said.

"Also, making sure that those things get done," he stated. "If they don't get done then we're out the door."

Ziegler said that CEDA contracts typically feature a 30-day "out" clause, making it easy to terminate services.

"We're non-profit, and we have about a million dollar budget. There are 15 of us on staff. We aren't out to gouge anybody. Our goal is to show a $100,000 profit at the end of the year, break even or finish plus or minus a little bit.

"Our whole goal is to try to get jobs, tax base and improve quality of life, those types of things."

When asked about specific costs, Ziegler said one of the smallest ongoing contracts now in effect is for one day every other week for $10,550 per year.

Another community hires CEDA for two days per week for approximately $37,000 per year.

Members thanked Ziegler for appearing, and stated that they would take his offer under consideration.

Asking CEDA to send a specific proposal wasn't voted on. Later, members discussed hiring a local bookkeeper to keep track of EDA accounts.

Main Street Marketing report

Commissioners held a Main Street Marketing session prior to the regular meeting.

Details of the Detour Dollars promotion, related radio advertising, hours of construction next summer (sunup to sundown) and more were brought up.

By consensus, the board approved ordering a $225 vinyl sign that will be placed on open billboard space.

Pam Eddy of Fairway Outdoor Advertising showed commissioners a sample including the Spring Grove logo (pretty/ neat/small town), which they agreed to use on the billboard sign.

The left side of the sign features a close-up of the warrior statue in Viking Memorial Park and the other side features a small version of the "Spring Grove: Up and Running" logo.

The company will allow the billboard ad to run free of charge on an open billboard throughout the county.

When a billboard spot is purchased by a customer, the "cover copy" program would move the ad to another open spot.

For an additional charge of $100, the EDA can have the vinyl placed on any open billboard they choose.

Members decided that a separate vote was not required to buy the vinyl since the ad campaign was approved by an earlier ballot.

Detour Dollars

When the Main Street highway reconstruction begins in May, the Spring Grove EDA (Economic Development Authority) will roll out a number of advertising efforts to bring customers into town. One is called Detour Dollars.

Thirty-three Spring Grove businesses have now signed up as members of that promotion, Robin Bartell told the EDA board last week.

Bartell has been charged with putting together the larger EDA advertising and promotional package, which Detour Dollars is a part of.

The 20-week program will include a variety of advertising types, including radio and newspaper ads, a variety of signage and more.

Beginning on the week of May 20, up to four registration boxes will make the rounds of participating local businesses.

Entrants will learn where they're located via the ad campaign. Each week, first, second and third-place winners will be drawn on Wednesday evenings at 6 p.m.

In addition, each business will provide a door prize when they host the entry boxes.

First place in the weekly drawing is $144 worth of Spring Grove dollars, redeemable at local businesses. If the first place winner is not present at the drawing, the prize is $100 in SG dollars. Second and third places win SG Cinema and SWIM Center Passes.

EDA members discussed where those drawings will take place. Music-in-the-Park will host many of them, but those events are currently only scheduled to run from June 5 through the end of July with the possibility of an August date.

EDA members will need to come up with a venue for May 22 and 29, and later dates (up to Oct. 2). A leading contender for those days, as well as any rain dates, is the Fest Building.

All first, second and third-place weekly winners will be eligible for the grand prize drawing on Saturday, Oct. 5 at a "Street Re-opening Event" during UffDa Fest.

Ten additional last-minute qualifiers will be added to the bin just for fun before the grand-prize winner is chosen. That prize will be $4,444 in SG Dollars.

No purchase is necessary to win, and only handwritten entries will be allowed.

Bartell asked EDA members for permission to check with Spring Grove City Attorney Joe Hammell on age eligibility, since the program may be considered a sweepstakes. They concurred.