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EDA reports more business growth

By Staff | Sep 15, 2019

Blue Earth EDA member Ann Hanna shares the Business Spotlight award with Nicole Bell of ACFS.

Blue Earth’s Economic Development Authority was introduced to a new area business during their meeting on Sept. 12, and it was that new business who received the business spotlight for the month of September.

Adult Child and Family Services is a new local business setting up shop in the Blue Earth Ag?Center. Nicole Bell, an outpatient therapist with the Mankato-based business, was at the EDA meeting to field questions from the board and let the public know a little more about the organization.

Bell stated ACFS provides outpatient therapy and in-home skills work to individuals, families and couples in need of mental health assistance. The group hopes to have yet another therapist join at the new Blue Earth location, as well as hiring a few staff members and potentially bring in an intern in the future.

“We are hoping to offer a few more options to our clients once our staff is at full capacity for the Blue Earth office,” said Bell. “For now, we are having our clients go through the Mankato office or website to set up appointments.”

This private practice is hoping to spread the word of their new Blue Earth location, and looking to find staff that would be able to help facilitate the Blue Earth office. Bell did mention that there is a shortage of licensed therapists and says anyone who is licensed in the area is also encouraged to reach out to Bell, or ACFS owner, Jessica Shouler, for inquiries.

“We are very much looking forward to branching out into the Blue Earth community to address the needs of individuals and families who need those extra services to live a healthier life,” Bell said to the EDA.

In other portions of their meeting, the EDA continued to look at new initiatives and programs that could be brought to Blue Earth to benefit the community and the economy of the city. Mary Kennedy, Blue Earth’s economic development director from Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), spoke about a program known as Local Foods, Local Places that helps small communities revitalize neighborhoods through the development of local food systems. This program aims to support economically vibrant main streets and boost economic opportunities for local farmers and main street businesses to improve access to healthy, local food.

Minnesota Manufacturing Week is slated for Oct. 1-7, and a tour of manufacturing facilities across the state will take place during that week. This gives job seekers, students, and members of the public an opportunity to tour manufacturing companies across the state to better understand the careers involved in those manufacturing businesses.

Unfortunately, Blue Earth-based manufacturing businesses have not stepped up to join this opportunistic tour.

“There are no local participants from Blue Earth this year, and there weren’t any last year,” says Kennedy. “We need more participation from manufacturers. Over 800 students across the state went on this tour last year, and the Faribault County EDA?was willing to cover the $500 cost for businesses to participate. We still did not get participation.”

Some EDA?members wondered if this had anything to do with concerns of losing a day of production, or whether it could create liability for losing trade secrets.

Blue Earth’s Little Giants has made a request to the Blue Earth EDA with regards to an air handling unit. A letter from Community Ed director, Dar Holmseth, said the air handler is in need of replacement before the cold weather sets in. Holmseth quoted an Electric Service proposal, but the EDA has requested that a second quote be added to the original proposal.

The Blue Earth EDA also received an update from the Rural Renaissance Project who stated there are big things happening, including a change in their construction company.

Beth Kalis and Janie Hanson, from the Three Sisters Project, shared they have received many local inquiries about the project and are hoping to host multiple educational opportunities and workshops in the building to create a buzz for the business.

“Main Street has been a priority and we will continue to focus our efforts in whatever way we can to help you,” said EDA member John Huisman.

Other big news from the Housing and Redevelopment Authority of Blue Earth came from Ibisch who shared the HRA is looking at multi-family housing units for a number of locations around the city of Blue Earth. More information will be presented at the next EDA meeting which is scheduled for Oct. 10, at 7:15 a.m. at Blue Earth City Hall.