Virginia, Minnesota in July 2012 from the lookout point in the southeast.

Over $15.6 million in economic development funding granted to northeastern Minnesota

Businesses, communities and outdoor recreation in northeastern Minnesota receive over $15.6 million in economic development funding.

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Approximately $12.2 million in loans and over $3.3 million in grants were approved at the April 5 Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (IRRR) Board meeting. Total combined project investment is approximately $57.4 million.

According to IRRR, the projects are expected to increase the regional tax base, create permanent and construction jobs, provide essential services, and expand outdoor recreation. The loans and grants combined are anticipated to impact 866 jobs. The infrastructure grants are projected to create 202 construction jobs.

Business development

The Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority (CHAA) in Hibbing will receive a $10 million loan and a $500,000 Infrastructure Grant to construct a 60,000-square-foot addition to the existing operations at the airport campus of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing, LLC (DDR). The added space will be used to support the remanufacturing of parts to help support the DDR parent company, Daimler Truck North America’s electric vehicle (EV) business. DDR will remanufacture EV batteries, qualify, repair and upgrade microchips, remanufacture power inverters and manufacture other HV products. Total project investment is approximately $17.5 million and includes the creation of up to 18 new jobs. DDR will lease the new space from CHAA through a long-term lease agreement. 

“Chisholm/Hibbing Airport Authority is a major economic development hub for northeastern Minnesota, and the expansion of Detroit Diesel Remanufacturing’s footprint and operations demonstrates what we can offer new and expanding businesses,” Barrett Ziemer, Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority Executive Director, said. “The entire 58 acres is Shovel-Ready certified, which allows us to put development projects on a fast track. We are so pleased to add this expansion to our already bustling business community at the airport campus.”

ASV Holdings, Inc. in Grand Rapids is set to receive $1 million to expand their existing facility and construct a 60,000-square-foot high-bay warehouse that accommodates assembly layout modifications and additional equipment. The expansion will meet a significant ramp-up in production of compact track loaders and accommodate new product launches. The total project investment is approximately $9.4 million and includes the creation of hundreds of jobs over the next five years. ASV was recently acquired by Yanmar Group, and the expanded facility allows for a strong increase of compact equipment production in Grand Rapids. ASV has been operating in northeastern Minnesota for nearly 40 years.  

“The merger of ASV and Yanmar provides significant opportunities in the North American market for both brands,” ASV President Tate Johnson said. “Substantial growth is expected in the Yanmar and ASV lines of compact equipment, which necessitates the investment in increased operational capacity in North America. We are proud of our Minnesota roots and are very pleased to expand our facility and capabilities in Grand Rapids.” 

Another company to receive funding is Highland Holdings, LLC. dba. MNSTAR Group in Bovey which will be granted $230,592 to purchase three pieces of equipment and allow MNSTAR to offer a full line of automated wire cutting/assembly equipment. According to the IRRR report, the equipment will meet customer needs, improve efficiency and increase company margins.

Reynolds Manufacturing, Inc. and Reynolds Enterprises, LLC in Grand Rapids will be granted $1,010,000 to purchase the assets and real estate of Northland Machine. The new ownership will retain existing staff and capture demand for precision machined parts.

Development Infrastructure Grants

Cities in northeastern Minnesota will be benefiting from grants announced at yesterdays meeting as well. According to IRRR, ASV received a $1 million business loan and a $350,000 Development Infrastructure grant. The total project investment for ASV of $9,409,500 is represented only in the business loan calculations; it is not reflected in the Development Infrastructure grant total project investment.

The City of Grand Rapids will receive $350,000 to construct infrastructure for the expansion of ASV’s production facility that includes the addition of a 60,000-square-foot high-bay warehouse.*

LaPrairie will be granted $312,000 to construct infrastructure for a new recreational vehicle park and campground located on the Prairie and Mississippi Rivers that includes 49 new campsites. The new infrastructure will also enable future residential housing development.

Silver Bay will benefit from $700,000 to construct infrastructure for the development of a planned housing and resort development that includes new residential housing, town home and tiny house rentals, commercial storage and an event and wellness center.

The Queen City of Virginia will be granted $176,894 to reconstruct an intersection at the entrance of P&H Road that will correct a serious safety risk and enable better access for small and oversized vehicles accessing Komatsu and ArcelorMittal.

Community Infrastructure Grants

Communities in northeastern Minnesota will also benefit from grants allocated to build new and improve dated infrastructure.

The city of Ely is receiving $250,000 to relocate and replace the water line for Ely school district’s campus reconstruction project and resolve a lead issue.

Keewatin will get $180,734 to construct a new sewer line from Keewatin to Nashwauk that enables flows to be routed to a regional expanded wastewater facility.

Marble will get $325,000 to construct a new 75,000-gallon elevated water tank, remove an existing tank, and install a city-wide metering system.

The city of Orr will receive $74,859 to rehabilitate a lift station and replace a force main to reduce inflow and infiltration issues.

Silver Bay will benefit from $214,202 to extend public infrastructure to Bayview Park through the installation of a water main, hydrants, curb stops, sanitary sewer main and sanitary lift station.

Goodland Township will get up to $20,000 to replace the HVAC system in the township’s community center that is utilized for government business, community gatherings, election polling and voting, and emergency disaster relief shelter.

Regional Trails

Recreational routes will also benefit from grants decided at yesterday’s IRRR meeting. Blackberry Township will get $29,737 to construct a walking and hiking trail through a wooded and underutilized area in the township park.

The city of Eveleth will get $21,378 to redesign and construct a pedestrian trail on the southeast side of Fayal Pond. The project is the first phase to repair the trail surrounding the pond and community park.

Iron Range Tourism Bureau (IRTB) was granted $100,000 to fund the Northern St. Louis County Trails Task Force Small Trail Projects grant program. The program is administered by IRTB and provides grants to cover costs related to trails and trail facility/amenity projects in the region.

Itasca County received $80,000 to construct a non-motorized bituminous trail located within the city of S. Lake to establish a safe route for pedestrians and provide a connection to businesses and community services. The project is the second phase of a pedestrian/ATV trail developed in 2016 and is a collaboration with the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe.

The Northern ATV Joint Powers Board was granted $50,000 to develop a master plan for ATV trail connectivity and expansion in St. Louis, Koochiching and Lake counties.

According to the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, they fund their loans and grants through taxes paid by Minnesota’s mining industry.

Other funding partners for the approved projects include private businesses, cities and their economic development authorities, counties, joint powers boards, Blandin Foundation, Community Development Block Grant Program, Ely Independent School District 696, Environmental Protection Agency’s State and Tribal Assistance Grant, Federal Recreational Trails Program, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), DEED Minnesota Investment Fund, Minnesota Department of Transportation, Minnesota Public Facilities Authority, Point Source Implementation Grant, and United States Economic Development Authority.

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