Chatfield EDA discusses various topics in the name of progress

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 “Progress” was the word of the hour during the October Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) meeting held last Monday, Oct. 22. 

The first order of business encompassed the EDA’s membership voting to allow the environmental work on the Twiford development property to proceed. The members voted this way so a Dollar General store can be built there. 

Chris Giesen, community development coordinator, noted that the $230,000 Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) grant has come due with the state. 

The infrastructure grant was given to the city with a five-year development deadline, and while the EDA has continually had the property engaged with a development company — starting with the parent company of Family Dollar, then Cobblestone Suites, and now Dollar General — Giesen stated that he hopes there will be no need to repay the grant to DEED because the EDA is working with Dollar General to complete a project there. 

“Frankly, we’ve had a live project on that property, whether it’s Family Dollar, Cobblestone or Dollar General,” Giesen said. “I think they’re willing to work with us, and if need be, we could let our local legislators know that it’s being developed so they can report to the state.”

The director then turned conversation toward business prospects that have come up, and EDA member Molly Baum inquired about the former Coyote Club building, originally the Hotel Chatfield, on the corner of Third and Main. 

Giesen replied that he had heard some news but couldn’t confirm or deny what he knew, and therefore couldn’t share beyond that. 

He went on to relate that the city council approved the EDA’s revolving loan arrangement with EZ Fabricating to assist with a Minnesota Investment Fund (MIF) loan application and be the fiscal agent if the loan is granted so that EZ Fabricating can expand its production facilities. 

Baum also wanted to know whether WIT Boyz owners Luke Thieke and Chris Musty had decided to remain in their current location on Main Street or move to Enterprise Drive. Giesen answered, to the best of his knowledge, the owners had determined to stay where they are for the time being. 

“We have had some inquiries about Enterprise Drive between now and the last meeting, though,” he added.

The development of a subdivision platted on Amco Drive being built by Chatfield contractor Geoff Griffin is in progress, and the EDA chose to recommend that $130,000 be provided in lot-purchasing assistance for income-qualified families. 

Giesen said, “I think he’s moving dirt, and I think his plan is to have water, sewer and aggregate in so that it can sit over the winter. I think there are already people interested in buying there.” 

At the meeting’s close, Giesen brought up the subject of a day care shortage and how it affects the local workforce, citing that some of the reliable in-home providers have suggested that they might retire, leaving an even wider gap in the available day care supply. 

“We need to be planning ahead,” he concluded, thanking EDA member Randy Paulson for sharing that he’d seen a daycare center built onto a nursing home in another town.