|Dec 01, 2008 --
Outline Of Need: Heartland Consumers Power District wanted to assist with business creation/development in and around Madison, South Dakota.
How Rural Development Helped: They applied to USDA Rural Development and were successfully awarded a Rural Economic Development Loan in the amount of $740,000and a Grant in the amount of $300,000. Heartland Consumer Power Districts in turn provided a loan to the Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC) to help with the expansion and development of 145 acres of the Lakeview Industrial Park in Madison. To date, this is the largest loan Heartland has awarded as part of their Heartland Economic Development Loan Program, or HELP fund. Established in 2005 to promote community and economic development for Heartland Customers, the HELP Fund provides gap financing for projects through the creation of a revolving loan fund. In its short four-year existence, the HELP Fund has issued ten loans for nearly $2.2 million.
The Results: The LAIC plans to use the funds to complete an expansion project that began in 2007 when the Madison City Commission deeded over 160 acres of land located along Highway 34 in the Lakeview Industrial Park. According to Executive Director Dwaine Chapel, the LAIC sold 15 acres to James River Equipment and began installing utilities into the eastern half of the park in 2008. In 2009 the LAIC plans to extend the main road (12th Street) to the west side of the James River property and add an additional access point from Highway 34. According to Elsie Meeks, State Director USDA Rural Development, the LAIC project is “impressive” and “will improve the business economy in and around Madison.” REDLG applications are scored on several factors, priority given to projects that promote economic activity, utilize leveraged funds and save or create funds, among other factors. Heartland received the only loan of this size in South Dakota for 2009.
“We were approached by the LAIC for assistance on the project a year and a half ago,” said Heartland Manager of Community & Economic Development Russell Olson. “The REDLG program is a great avenue for large scale community development projects like this one and Heartland as a public power entity was eligible to apply on behalf of the LAIC. We are happy to see the growth occurring in Madison so that we are ready for business expansion when these tough economic times turn around.”
Heartland is issuing the loan at 0% interest for ten years, saving the LAIC nearly $300,000 in interest payments.
“That savings decreased the overall cost of the project and the partnership between Heartland and the LAIC has provided the ability to complete it,” said Chapel. “With the forward-thinking leadership of Mike McDowell, Heartland has shown its commitment to economic growth for the entire region.” Madison Mayor Gene Hexom believes the HELP loan will give a significant boost to the efforts of the LAIC to improve and market the area.
“The Lakeview Industrial Park represents our best locations for future economic development and job growth in Madison,” Hexom said. “I extend my congratulations to all partners.” Heartland and the LAIC have partnered often in the past to offer various businesses hiring incentives, utility rebates and other loans.
“The LAIC is very fortunate to have many resources available to them, and one of the most important resources is Heartland,” said LAIC President Jerry Johnson. “This funding source is turning plans into reality and will benefit our community and state for years to come.”