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EDAs look at CEDA to take over

By Staff | Nov 19, 2017

Two members of an economic development assistance organization say they would like the chance to provide services to the communities in Faribault County.

Chris Gastner and Joya Stetson of CEDA (Community and Economic Development Associates) of Chatfield, Minnesota, gave a one hour presentation to a group of Faribault County officials last Thursday afternoon.

The 15 people present represented the cities of Wells, Winnebago and Blue Earth, the County Board, county economic development authority and other entities.

The event was hosted by the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority (EDA) and city administrator Tim Ibisch at the Ag Center in Blue Earth.

Ibisch said economic development is important in Faribault County, and with the dissolution of Faribault County Development Corporation (FCDC), the Blue Earth EDA is looking at the possibility of using the resources of CEDA.

Gastner, who is CEDA’s senior vice president, and Stetson, director of marketing, explained just what CEDA is, what they can offer, and how they operate.

They currently provide services to 33 communities, mainly located in southeastern Minnesota. However, they are looking to expand to other cities, and just recently contracted with the city of Jackson.

“We started 30 years ago, as Southeast Minnesota Development Corporation, just doing grant writing,” Gastner said. “But we now have 22 employees and do all kinds of economic assistance work for our clients including still doing grant writing.”

Gastner and Stetson said they provide a variety of services, doing as much, or as little as their clients want.

“We work five days a week for some, or as little as one day a week for others,” Gastner said. “We have some clients that only contact us when they have a big economic development project they want us to assist with.”

Stetson says there is one thing that really sets CEDA apart from other agencies.

“We have our staff members actually be in the communities we serve,” she explained. “We assign one staff person to each client and they travel to that community not just work out of our office in Chatfield.”

And while there is one staff person working with each city, Gastner says that person is backed up by their whole team of economic development professionals.

Their fees vary according to the number of days and amount of work the clients need.

Ibisch said after the presentation that Blue Earth would probably be interested in three days a week. The cost for that, he said, would be comparable to the $50,000 the city’s EDA had paying FCDC.

It was expected that the various cities, EDAs and the county would be discussing CEDA’s proposal at their next meetings.

“I am sure we, and the other groups, will have to decide what we will do (for economic development work) for 2018 soon,” Ibisch said. “And this seems like a viable option.”