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County EDA backs BE industrial park plans

By Staff | Oct 28, 2012

Linsey Warmka

Faribault County’s Economic Development Authority is again backing a multi-million dollar venture.

This time, board members want to make it perfectly clear their financial support is a loan.

“We overstepped our boundaries on Singleteary. I don’t want to do it again and give money away,” says John Roper, county commissioner and EDA board member.

In an unanimous vote, the EDA board approved a $100,000, interest-free loan for Blue Earth’s proposed industrial park.

Linsey Warmka, executive director of Faribault County Development Corporation, initially asked that the $100,000 be a grant to the project estimated to cost $6.5 million.

She says Blue Earth Valley Communications (Bevcomm) and Blue Earth Light and Water have each pledged $100,000.

“When you go out there looking for grants, it shows collaboration,” she adds.

Warmka says there are many businesses interested in locating along Interstate 90 and Highway 169, but there are no sites avail-able.

EDA board chairman Jake Anderson pointed out there is about $320,000 in its revolving loan fund.

Anderson says letting the money sit idle doesn’t do any good.

“Hopefully this will spark activity so we are able to loan out more to other projects,” he says.

EDA board member John Herman says he’s not in favor of just giving the money, but not providing loans for economic development is like “putting money in a mattress.”

Commissioner and board member Bill Groskreutz also was against giving a grant.

“I can hear the other three commissioners very well if we proceed with this,” Groskreutz says in not making the $100,000 a loan.

Anderson suggested perhaps the loan amount should be increased to $150,000, however none of the board members supported that idea.

The $100,000 will be loaned out only if the industrial park is built. At that time, an agreement regarding repayment and other terms will be out together.