When Spring Grove EDA director Tom Monson met with commissioners on June 24, the Spring Grove Commercial Park was just one topic of many on the agenda.

Monson reported that he recently met with four different businesses which have expressed interest in buying EDA-owned lots. That's good, since the EDA's tax-exempt status on those lots will end in a few years. In 2017, the organization will begin paying property taxes on any unsold land.

One potential start-up was discussed in depth, but Monson cautioned commissioners that the company will need to provide much more in the way of financial information prior to EDA taking any action on their behalf. The board agreed - wholeheartedly - to that suggestion.

Monson said that the EDA commercial lots would stand a much better chance to sell if they were more "developer ready." He repeated his intention to investigate sources of funding, such as a Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure (BDPI) grant to make improvements such as sewer tie-ins possible. A BDPI grant would require a 50 percent local match, but the City of Spring Grove may be able to find other entities help to pay it's share, he noted.

Two commissioners told Monson that plans already exist at city hall to extend sewer tie-ins to the park, and he offered to bring those documents up to date.

EDA campground still possible

Another topic which was discussed at length was building a campground on EDA-owned land near the Swim Center. Monson said that he had reviewed feasibility studies that were undertaken in recent years and made a few additional assumptions on what is possible.

After adding both "liberal" and "conservative" estimates on how much money a campground would generate led to a wide range of figures, but one element stood out.

"I don't see it as being a massive flow of income for the city," Monson said, "but it would make money.

Monson proposed that a campground could open in April to host campers who are out for spring turkeys and stay open into November for other types of hunting. If additional traffic could be added to the pool, that facility may be able to stay open a bit later than it does now, commissioners noted.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources offers grants to help communities acquire, develop, or redevelop campgrounds, Monson said. But those also require a 50 percent local match.

Commissioner Robert Vogel said a city campground would more or less resemble a park. Other communities in the region have done it, and even though city campgrounds do not reap tons of income, "They all like it..." he noted. "I haven't met a city manager yet who wanted to get rid of one.

Other news

Monson also reported on a few events that the EDA may become involved with in the future. Those include a FEAST trade show that will be held at the Mayo Civic Center in November. The idea is "connecting local food businesses with distributors, consumers and others," he stated.

Two additional businesses have completed "fix fund" improvements to their facades, treasurer Jon Nerstad reported.

Finally, the board noted that response has been good so far to the "Spring Grove Summer Giveaway" promotion. That campaign is designed to draw more customers to local businesses.