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USDA Officials to Highlight Rural Development Projects in Southeast Minnesota

Fri, Jan 11th, 2013
Posted in All Government

Variety of projects include wastewater treatment, energy efficiency, local business and affordable housing

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer will visit the Southeastern Minnesota cities of Lewiston, Rushford, Caledonia and Wabasha on Jan. 15 and 16 to highlight projects that have used Rural Development financing. Local media is invited to join Landkamer on each stop and learn more about how Rural Development is impacting the region.

“This tour really highlights the variety and the diverse ways in which USDA financing impacts rural communities,” Landkamer said. “It is our goal to visit all 87 counties in Minnesota in 2013 and showcase at least one USDA project per visit. On this swing through beautiful Southeastern Minnesota, we will be highlighting wastewater treatment system improvements in Lewiston, how a grocery store in Rushford cut its monthly energy bill, how a local vegetable distribution business in Caledonia used USDA funds to expand, and how an apartment complex in Wabasha is thriving with USDA assistance.”

USDA Rural Development has invested about $3.5 billion throughout Minnesota since 2009. The agency has finances projects that improve housing, infrastructure, community facilities, businesses, renewable energy and high-speed Internet in rural areas.

Details on each stop are as follows:

City of Lewiston

Time/Date/Place: 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, Lewiston wastewater treatment facility (19884 Homestead Dr, Lewiston, MN).

Project Details: Landkamer will highlight how over $750,000 in Rural Development financing will help Lewiston install an equalization basin to upgrade its wastewater treatment system. Total cost of the project is about $1.4 million and construction is expected to start in April of 2013.

Media Availability: Landkamer will discuss other USDA investments to improve infrastructure in rural Minnesota and highlight the importance of investing in rural infrastructure to increase overall economic development and community vitality. Media is invited to attend the entire event.

*Note on the location: Homestead Drive was formerly known as Sauer Drive. If you use Google Maps or MapQuest, you must use 19884 Sauer Drive to be given the correct location. However, the street sign is Homestead Drive. From I-90, take the Lewiston exit (Co. Road 29) north for about three miles. About 1/2 mile before coming to the City of Lewiston, take a left turn onto Homestead Drive (gravel road) and travel about 1/2 mile--the Wastewater Treatment Plant will be on the right (north).

Rushford IGA

Time/Date/Place: 12:45 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, Rushford IGA grocery store (400 South Mill St., Rushford, MN)

Project Details: Landkamer and the owners of Rush Foods, Inc. will highlight how an $8,827 grant from USDA’s Rural Energy for America Program helped finance the installation of glass doors on freezers and coolers at the Rushford IGA grocery store. The project reduces Rushford IGA’s monthly energy bill by about $330 and reduces its energy consumption by about 39,500 Kilowatt hours annually.

Media Availability: Landkamer will highlight how the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) helps small businesses and farmers throughout Minnesota slash energy costs and become more energy efficient. The REAP program is one of USDA’s most popular programs and is open to any small business or farm in rural areas. Media is invited to attend the entire event. It will be an excellent opportunity to introduce business owners and farmers in your area to a program that can help increase their bottom line.

Sno-Pac Foods

Time/Date/Place: 2:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 15, Sno-Pac Foods (521 Enterprise Dr., Caledonia, MN)

Project Details: Landkamer, officials from the city of Caledonia, and management from Sno-Pac Foods will highlight how USDA revolving loan funds delivered through the city of Caledonia helped Sno-Pac grow into the strong local business that it is today. Sno-Pac accessed revolving loan funds from USDA for expansion and job creation projects in 1995 and 2005.

Media Availability: Minnesota has one of the largest portfolios of revolving loan fund in the nation. Landkamer will highlight how these funds operate, how they assist local businesses, and how businesses can access these funds to meet critical financing needs. Media is invited to attend the entire event. It will be an excellent opportunity to highlight a financing opportunity for business owners they otherwise may not be aware of. Your audience also will be interested in learning more about how the USDA is working to boost businesses locally.

Wabasha Apartments

Time/Date/Place: 11:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 16, Southeastern Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority Headquarters (134 East 2nd St., Wabasha, MN)

Project Details: Landkamer and the board of the Southeastern Minnesota Multi-county Housing and Redevelopment Authority (SEMMCHRA) will highlight how the Wabasha Apartments affordable housing complex has been rehabilitated and improved through a partnership between USDA and SEMMMCHRA. SEMMCHRA took over management of the 24-unit affordable housing complex in 2007 and transformed it into a modern, safe and affordable place to live for seniors, people with disabilities and low-income tenants.

Media Availability: USDA oversees the management of 563 multi-family housing complexes in Minnesota, including Wabasha Apartments. These properties serve people with disabilities, the elderly and low-income tenants. This event will highlight how affordable housing benefits rural Minnesota, is good for local businesses, and grows the overall economy. This event will begin at SEMMCHRA headquarters before moving to Wabasha Apartments for photo opportunities.

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