Examples of the impact made by RDOs include the following:
$31 Million Dollars
The Region Five Development Commission, and partners in the 5-county Central Minnesota region, crafted the Resilient Region plan through intense civic/public engagement of over 600 residents, the University of Minnesota and several state agencies over a two-year period. Deployment of the Distributed Leadership Model of over 45 regional champions across the ten theme areas of the plan, coupled with the allowable federal priority status points, have leveraged over $31 million dollars from Federal, State and philanthropic partners over the last three years to implement many projects/ programs prioritized in the plan. resilientregion.org
500 New Jobs
Region Nine Development Commission played a key role in MnDOT’s successful application for a $9.8 million EDA grant for rebuilding portions of State Highway 169 near Mankato. The rehabilitation of the highway will support the creation of 500 new jobs in the region and attract an additional $10 million in private investment, according to grantee estimates. This collaboration between the RDO and MnDOT was awarded the 2014 NADO Innovation Award.
The Mid-Minnesota Development Commission assisted Kandiyohi County with writing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for Concrete Products of New London. The Reclamation Plan identified reclaiming half of the property for agriculture, creating a new 15-25 acre lake, and reclaiming the remaining land for wildlife with native prairie grass.
Arrowhead Regional Development Commission is the lead agency and fiscal agent for a $400,000 federal Economic Adjustment Assistance grant from the EDA to leverage all available resources to help Koochiching County and the surrounding region recover from the permanent workforce reduction (265 jobs) at the Boise Paper Mill in 2013. The grant is helping develop a long-term economic adjustment strategy and assist existing small businesses to grow.
The Southwest Regional Development Commission, in partnership with the Rural Minnesota Energy Board, started a new Property Assessed Clean Energy or PACE program. This program allows for businesses to take out a loan to do a building energy retrofit and repay the loan through their property taxes. The energy saved by the business is enough to make the additional tax payments as well as put money back into the business.
West Central Initiative (WCI) undertook an initiative to identify the condition and associated costs of repairing and replacing the water infrastructure (drinking, wastewater, and stormwater) throughout the region. In 2012, WCI created and funded a grant program titled: The Capital Improvement Plan Grant. This grant provides funding to communities in the region to develop a formal Capital Improvement Plan (CIP). To date, seven communities have received the grant, and are all currently in the process of developing their CIP.
Twelve aerospace companies in Duluth have sought the assistance of Arrowhead Regional Development Commission in determining the merit of working together to create economic opportunities through collaboration.
In a unique partnership with Northwest Minnesota Foundation (NMF) and area communities, Northwest Regional Development Commission (NWRDC) completed comprehensive plans for the cities of Oslo and Warren in 2014. NMF encourages small towns throughout its coverage area to apply for grants to assist with strategic planning efforts as part of its Community Planning program. The community matches the grant dollars and the funds are used to hire NWRDC staff to conduct the planning process. The comprehensive plans and appropriate zoning ordinances are completed through a series of public meetings which engage community residents.
The Headwaters Regional Development Commission’s nonprofit subsidiary corporation, Headwaters Housing Development Corporation, has been involved in housing development for many years. The organization has developed more than forty single-family homes in partnership with the Bemidji High School over the past twenty years. This partnership has provided an opportunity for enhanced technical skills of the participating high school students and helped the community address its workforce housing needs.
Region Nine Development Commission provided technical assistance to Farmamerica for a successful application to Xcel Energy’s 2014 Renewable Development Fund. With final approval from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, Farmamerica was awarded $600,000 to install 120 kilowatts of solar and wind capacity on their campus and achieve a net zero non-combustion based energy production system.
Supporting the Arts
The Meander Upper Minnesota River Arts Crawl is a three-day art sale and tour of artists’ studios in Chippewa, Big Stone, Swift, Yellow Medicine and Lac qui Parle counties. The Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission is responsible for the financial, fundraising, administrative, graphic design, marketing, networking and communications for this event. The Meander reported an economic impact in over $108,000 of art sales in 2014. A modest estimation is that an additional $126,000 was brought into the region for the weekend.
Revolving Loan Fund
Since its inception in 1988, the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission’s Revolving Loan Fund program has aided in the development of the five-county region’s economy. A total of 113 loans have been closed totaling $5,947,160.00. These loans have leveraged $96,154,842 in private funds and $18,101,869 in other public funds. A total of 2,726 jobs have been created and/or retained as result of the RLFs involvement in projects. About 48% of the loans have been provided for industrial/ manufacturing start-ups and expansions in the region. All of the RDOs have similar Revolving Loan Fund programs available.
The East Central Regional Development Commission‘s status as a federal economic development district, and a valuable collaboration with Pine Technical College and GPS 45:93, proved valuable in securing nearly $2.2 million recently toward the construction of the Entrepreneurship Center and Technology Business Incubator at Pine Technical College in Pine City. This project also represented a unique and successful financial partnership between DEED, PTC, and the federal EDA. The Center offers a number of professional services for startup business at free or reduced costs. The college’s customized training program is also co-located in the facility. Approximately 7,800 sq. ft. of adaptable “incubator” manufacturing space is available for new high-tech startup businesses.
Safe Routes to School
With the assistance of all the RDOs in the state, numerous school districts have been assisted in preparing Safe Routes to School Plans. These plans have led to the implementation of improvements to infrastructure that has made walking and bicycling to and from schools safer. The plans focus also on education, encouragement, enforcement and evaluation measures that have increased the number of children that walk and bike to school.