The Spring Valley Economic Development Authority (EDA) met on Wednesday, Dec. 9, for its final meeting of the year as it reviewed the results of a federal program in 2015.

The meeting began with guest Michelle Vrieze who is the director of grants for CEDA and an economic development consultant for the Spring Valley EDA. Vrieze has been in charge of handling the Small Cities Block Grants (SCBG) program for Spring Valley and with the end of the program, Vrieze will also be ending her duties in the city.

“Michelle will be leaving us at the end of December. It has been just a pleasure to work with Michelle and after the DEED (Department of Employment and Economic Development) representative came down, she said it was an awesome job with this grant and the overall appearance of the city has greatly improved. So they have been pleased and that has to do with the building owners participation and their ability to work easily with Michelle,” Spring Valley economic development director Cathy Enerson stated.

Vrieze noted all of the $300,000 set aside for commercial rehabilitation was used.

“We could have used more, but we did 19 units and our goal was only 15. That was a good success,” Vrieze told the group. “For rental, I’ve got the last two projects going now. That was a successful program, too.”

For this portion of the program, $159,056.50 of the $175,000 was used to assist the construction of 15 rental units.

 According to Vrieze, much of the remaining balance will be used to cover administration costs for the program. Any additional funds will be returned to DEED.

Enerson then reviewed the final application for the SCBG.

Troy Meisner and Todd Foxx of Red Oak Enterprises, which owns the Minnesota Joe’s building in downtown Spring Valley, plan to create a one bedroom apartment and a studio apartment in the building.

Enerson noted, as with all SCBG projects, the rent is based on rates in the area, and must qualify for the low to moderate-income base.

The EDA approved the loan for up to $22,000 with Jeff Vehrenkamp abstaining because his bank is involved in the project.

“It’s nice to see these improvements in the downtown,” EDA President Kim Brown expressed.

Enerson then recommended the EDA review a request for an additional $22,000 by KC Fit, which owns the 24/7 Workout building in downtown Spring Valley. This would give the business a total loan of $44,000.

This project involves the creation of four one-bedroom apartments and a common area with coin laundry above Workout 24/, as well as an outside stairwell to the apartments.

The EDA also approved this loan for up to $22,000 with Vehrenkamp abstaining.

 

Utilities board

“We have three actual items for their board meeting,” Enerson said of the upcoming Spring Valley Public Utilities Commission meeting.

The first item involves the housing incentive the EDA received from Maple Leaf Services’ last month.

While the board found the application did not meet the EDA guidelines, Enerson plans to pass it along to Utilities as it may meet the guidelines since there will be a new utility hookup.

Enerson will also be discussing possible incentives for the six new electric meters being created by the KC Fit and Red Oak apartment projects.

Finally, she hopes to determine if the Public Utilities Commission would like to offer more housing incentives in 2016.

The current incentive includes $1,500 in Spring Valley Dollars, a $500 certificate to the Spring Valley Greenhouse and Floral for two trees and landscaping and $3,000 of city and utility permit fees waived for new construction of homes.

Other business

Enerson noted Jeff Allman may be interested in participating in the possible demolition of the former Tamarack Café building in downtown Spring Valley.  According to Enerson the current estimate for the project is in the $160,000 range, but she is continuing to research other lower cost options.

• The next EDA meeting will be held on Jan. 14.