Bruce Fish approached the Spring Valley EDA to discuss his application for a downtown residential revolving loan using Greater Minnesota Housing Funds (GMHF).

Fish, owner of 101 South Broadway, plans to use the $13,400 to renovate his three apartment units and replace the building's roof.

This is the first application the EDA has reviewed for the available GMHF grant funds which can be used to complement the Small Cities Block Grant (SCBG) for downtown businesses.

"With the availability of the Small Cities Block Grant I thought it would be time to put some money into it to make it look better and attract better renters," Fish explained.

The renovations will vary from repairing or replacing bathroom fixtures, new paint and new kitchen fixtures.

Fish will be busy this year as he has already been approved for $37,500 from the Small Cities Block Grant funds (SCBG) and is hoping to begin work on a project to convert office space for his commercial renter, SEMA Equipment, Inc.

"They want to stay here longer," Fish said, "But they are kind of busting at the seams and I'm limited on space. I'll do whatever I can do to keep them here."

The EDA approved the loan pending the required tenant survey.

Rochester Cheese

"It seems like the one hand didn't know what the other hand was doing," EDA President Dave Phillips said of the breakdown in communications within Rochester Cheese.

Phillips briefed the board on his conversation with the company's consultant, Tom Dubel, who admitted he knew nothing of Spring Valley's offer to provide assistance to move the company's facility to the industrial park.

Fortunately, Dubel divulged the company officials have promised to consider Spring Valley first if they would decide to expand, which is a possibility.

The company is seeking assistance from DEED and Kevin Kelleher of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) made it clear during a meeting last month with Phillips and city administrator Deb Zimmer that Spring Valley needs to be OK with the incentives for its Rochester expansion.

In a letter to Kelleher, Phillips expressed the EDA's thoughts on the situation.

"Although we are disappointed with the firm's decision and don't condone state incentives to move from one community to another within the state of Minnesota, there are extenuating circumstances in the decision by Rochester Cheese to move most of its Spring Valley jobs to Rochester."

The board moved to approve the letter, which noted that the firm will keep the local plant open, even if it is at a reduced level, and it will be sent promptly to Kelleher.

Revolving loan review

Economic development director Cathy Enerson advised the board three approved SCBG loans are once again pending after reaching their 90 day expiration.

The owners of Elaine's Café, Elaine and Dave Horsman, have begun to receive bids for their building improvements and are finding them higher than originally hoped so they may need to reapply for more funds.

According to Enerson, Red Essig will begin his project during the summer, so he will be attending a later meeting.

The board agreed to continue to pend Dave McHan's, owner of Dave's Plumbing and Heating, loan for improvements to his building until they learn the results of his legal issues.

Enerson also noted Glad Gathering's revolving loan is still pending as they were unable to complete all their projects before the beginning of winter.

The 2014 projections are anticipating eight $10,000 requests for SCBG funds in addition to Rack's Bar and Grill's recently approved EDA revolving loan of $31,100.

Other business

• The EDA approved the renewal of Kiwanis membership for a total of $400.

• Mayor Jim Struzyk announced Public Utilities approved the continuation of the newly constructed housing incentive, as well as the change in terms, which opens the program up to existing homes.

• The board took care of some housekeeping with the rewording of its guidelines for the GMHF funds, which now specifies the city can lend up to $5,500 per unit, rather than per applicant, to complement the SCBG grant funds.

The next meeting will be held on May 14 at 8:30 a.m.