At the February 27 meeting, the Rushford Council unanimously approved the Economic Development Authority (EDA) recommendation to implement Business Subsidy/Revolving Loan Fund guidelines. These will assist in marketing a Commercial Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Program. The goal of the program is to fill commercial space within the city.
“This is the leading priority of the EDA. They’re pulling RLF key aspects to help us communicate what we would do to fill commercial space,” explained City Administrator Tony Chladek.
“It’s all commercial, not strictly downtown,” added Councilor Sally Ryman.
The program includes no payment due the first year, but interest accrues. By not having principal payments the first year, businesses can take advantage of available funds for getting a down payment, needed renovations to the site, licensing, marketing, and other start-up costs. The loan also offers a forgivable portion of up to 50% of the loan with the option for 10% forgiveness in the last five years of the 10-year term.
“We looked at loans we had high dollar amounts we lost money on,” noted Councilor Leigh Volkman, who serves on the EDA. “It’s been simplified. It’s more pointed.”
“It focuses on the opportunity, but they have to be in good standing with the city. That’s important. You have to be moving in the right direction,” said Mayor Terri Benson.
“It’s not intended to be a giveaway,” reminded Volkman. “It’s a helping hand to get them started.”
“This reduces our risk,” added Chladek.
“It’s not a huge change from where we were, but it puts something simple on paper,” said Volkman. “If this helps one business in the next few years, it’ll be worth it.”
The council also heard a presentation from Public Works Director Roger Knutson regarding proposed and upcoming projects for 2023 and a recap of work done in 2022.
Goals for 2023 include adding trees and landscaping to the cutout areas along the Highway 30 corridor, water tower painting, street lighting, wellhead protection plan improvements at Wellhouse #2, crack repair and sealing of the basketball court, and lighting at the basketball and tennis courts. Several of the more significant projects include copper pipe mapping, a mandate of the state, which is due to be done by 2024, the construction of the new airport hangar, and the start of construction for the new trail leading from the Brooklyn neighborhood to the new school site.
Planned street work includes an overlay by the Hoiland Mill, the maintenance shop area, and targeting the city alleyways.
“It’s backup when we’re looking for things to do,” explained Knutson. “The problem is a lot of utility work gets done there, and it ruins alleyways. The department is allotted $100,000 annually for blacktop repairs. The department will address the last two alleys in the Brooklyn neighborhood this year.
Knutson also expressed a need to address Prairie Street, which runs through the Brooklyn neighborhood. The road now connects to Nannestad Lane/Eiken Drive, feeding traffic to the new school site. The state also designated it as the official bypass for the Highway 43 project in 2019.
“It’s no secret that Prairie Street is in poor shape. That road was never intended to be a through street,” noted Knutson. There’s lots of traffic, and that road is poor.”
“There’s things we miss. We just don’t see everything. If people see things, let us know,” urged Knutson.
The council thanked Knutson and his department for their work, lauding them as an asset to the city.
A Trail extension neighborhood meeting will be held Wednesday, March 8, at 5:30 p.m. at the R-P Auditorium. The city and school district are proposing a trail extending from the south end of Nannestad Lane behind homes on the west side of Eiken Drive to the school parking lot. The public is welcome to attend the meeting.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting is Monday, March 13, at 6:30 p.m. at city hall. The public is encouraged to attend.
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