On March 26, EDA Commissioner J.C. Nerstad proposed initiating a new grant program.

The "Fix Fund" would provide a 50 percent match for local businesses to upgrade their facades. The initial target area would be the Main Street corridor from First Avenue SE to First Avenue SW.

Up to $2,500 per building would be made available, with a total of $12,500 earmarked for the program on a first-come first-served basis in 2013.

Written applications mailed to the EDA would be considered in the order they are received. Projects would need to be completed by Dec. 31 and receipts for repairs would need to be provided for payment.

Nerstad said that if the program is a success, other areas could be targeted next year. Businesses owned either wholly or partly by EDA board members and city-owned buildings would naturally be ineligible for the grant monies, he noted.

"It'd be a good time to get this work done," Nerstad said.

After an extended discussion, a motion to approve the grant program for 2013 passed by unanimous vote. Only one member (Commissioner Robert Vogel) was absent.

Kraus to purchase a lot

The board also voted to accept an offer from Jerry Kraus, who will purchase an EDA-owned lot at the Spring Grove Commercial Park for $3,500. The lot lies directly to the west of land Kraus already owns.

Members included a single contingency in their acceptance, asking that Kraus build on the land within two years.

Election of officers held

Officers for 2013 were elected. Howard Deters will again serve as president. Eric Ostern will retain the vice president's office. J.C. Nerstad will serve as treasurer. Tammy Stadtler will serve as secretary.

Stadtler offered to keep the official minutes.

EDA balances as of Feb. 28 were: $77,078 in the Operating Fund, $62,706 in the Revolving Loan Fund and $2,320 in the Bond Fund. The latter deals with payments for the Sports Rehab (Winneshiek Rehab) building and Main Street and is supported by monthly rent.

Schroeder to keep books

Another consensus-based decision was to ask Melissa Schroeder if she would be interested in taking over EDA bookkeeping chores on a permanent basis.

Schroeder has provided EDA financial statements since Theresa Colman left as executive director.

Members asked for a cost proposal from Schroeder as well.

Commissioners also expressed a willingness to reimburse Nerstad, who has paid Schroeder to keep the books so far this year. Nerstad did not ask for any payment.

Marketing for project continues

Earlier, members held the next-to-last Main Street Marketing meeting that will take place before Main Street/Hwy. 44 road construction begins.

Signage for the "Up and Running" promotion and details on the "Detour Dollars" advertising campaign were discussed.

The board also worked on plans for a special edition of their recent map/brochure that will focus on retail outlets and information that customers will want to know about the construction project.

Mayor Bruce Poole noted that the detour will shift somewhat during phase 1, 2A, 2B, 3, 4 and 5 of the project, so the EDA will need to be ready to change sign placement.

A MnDOT "pre-construction" meeting should answer a lot of questions on how the work will proceed, Poole added. The date of that meeting has not yet been announced.

Other news from the board

By consensus, the board decided that Nerstad and Ostern will contact the League of Minnesota Cities (LMC) about roof repairs on the EDA's incubator building.

LMC provides insurance coverage for the city of Spring Grove and has already approved claims for other city-owned buildings related to hail damage.

Next meeting set

The next EDA meeting and last Main Street Marketing meeting (before construction) is set at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, at 168 W. Main Street.