EDA members presented a USDA grant check for $7,100 to Valley Home Improvement/REKK Properties for technical assistance. The business’ application for the grant was approved late last year. Accepting the check was Aaron Kolling of REKK Properties. Also on hand was policy liaison Judy Bird from U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’ office. She came to Spring Valley to visit with the EDA and owners of AMD Distribution and Marzolf Implement about their business expansions. From left are Mayor Jim Struzyk, Kolling, EDA President Kim Brown and Bird. (Tribune photo by Sonya Meyerhofer)
EDA members presented a USDA grant check for $7,100 to Valley Home Improvement/REKK Properties for technical assistance. The business’ application for the grant was approved late last year. Accepting the check was Aaron Kolling of REKK Properties. Also on hand was policy liaison Judy Bird from U.S. Rep. Tim Walz’ office. She came to Spring Valley to visit with the EDA and owners of AMD Distribution and Marzolf Implement about their business expansions. From left are Mayor Jim Struzyk, Kolling, EDA President Kim Brown and Bird. (Tribune photo by Sonya Meyerhofer)
Southeast Minnesota policy liaison Judy Bird of U.S. Rep. Tim Walz' office visited Spring Valley last week to meet with EDA members and tour two local businesses who completed expansion projects with the assistance of USDA grant funds.

Following the EDA meeting on June 6, which was moved to an earlier date, Bird addressed the board members. She visited to conduct business outreach and to "hear and understand what's going on in the community."

Economic development director Cathy Enerson and the board members discussed with Bird some of the area business losses due to financial troubles or from fire and shared successes of area businesses expanding, including AMD Distribution (REKK Properties) and Marzolf Implement.

Discussion turned to talk of the economy and EDA member Kim Brown said the ag industry has really upheld the economy and that commercial is improving.

With many members of the Minnesota National Guard recently returning from a deployment in Kuwait, Bird shared that there are tax credits available to businesses that hire veterans. Enerson said it would be a good idea for Bird to look into a rural tax credit that would help veterans start a business in a rural community.

After further discussion of the economy, Bird concluded, "I think we are turning a corner. The ag situation has definitely helped out."

Following the meeting, Bird, along with Enerson and members of the EDA visited AMD Distribution and Marzolf Implement to present their USDA grant checks for technical assistance that helped fund their expansions and to tour the facilities.