Grand Meadow’s industrial park moves forward
Published 7:10 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Coming off a season of delays, the city of Grand Meadow has something to look forward to in the new year. Town officials plan on the first business opening its doors in the Grand Meadow Industrial Park some time next year, and the hope is that many more businesses will soon follow.
The Grand Meadow Economic Development Authority hope this first business is just the beginning for the industrial park on Highway 16 on the west edge of Grand Meadow.
“Long-term plans are to develop it as much as possible for commercial and industrial use, hopefully bringing new business — small to light manufacturing — to Grand Meadow,” said EDA Secretary-Treasurer Lynn Meier.
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Plans to build an industrial park date back more than a decade, but officials are finally seeing the idea become a reality.
Brad Skifter is moving his Pioneer Seed company to the site, and the new property will likely open its doors next year. Queensland said Skifter moving his business to the site was an important step in developing the land.
“He was kind of the missing link,” Queensland said. “He was the anchor tenant that we needed.”
Queensland described Skifter as a local business owner dedicated to bettering Grand Meadow.
As part of construction, the city will bring out the utilities to the site, which will open the door to other businesses.
“With Brad being the anchor tenant, it allowed to get the infrastructure out there and on site,” Queensland said. “Now it will be a lot simpler process from here on out.”
Aside from providing a base for infrastructure, Queensland also said the business will serve as an example for other interested businesses: “Activity spurs activity. There’s not doubt about that,” he said.
The EDA originally intended for construction to begin in May. However, grants became available through the United States Department of Agriculture, and construction stalled to wait for potential grant dollars, said EDA President Ryan Queensland.
Costruction was also slowed by state approvals, as the state wanted the city to add a turn lane going into the park, Meier said. But, Meier said officials with the Grand Meadow Economic Development Authority felt a turn lane wasn’t needed because there wouldn’t be large amounts of semi traffic.
By the time the EDA received the USDA grant, construction began but was again delayed, this time by fall rains. Crews were able to form the base of the building. Construction will continue in the spring, and one of the first tasks will be to lay concrete.
Meier said the EDA didn’t rush construction for fear of damage to the concrete over the winter.
Queensland said Skifter deserves a lot of credit for his patience in waiting through delays to build the property on the industrial park.
The business park will be a strong addition to Grand Meadow. Aside from adding businesses to the community, Queensland said the industrial park could add jobs, new residents and tax base for the community. According to Queensland, construction at the industrial park shouldn’t cause an increase in local property taxes.
The Grand Meadow Industrial Park is unique, Queensland said, because the EDA can work with a potential business. The price of each lot is flexible, and Queensland said the industrial park doesn’t have plotted spots, which means lot size can flex to fit the needs of each business, Queensland said.
The industrial park’s location is another key. Queensland said he’s marketing Grand Meadow’s proximity to airports in Rochester and Austin. The park is close to Interstate 90, and is right along Highway 16.
“We’re a great centralized location with a good workforce — a reliable workforce willing and able,” Queensland said.
To advertise that the available property, the EDA is working with the Southeastern Minnesota Development Corp. Word of mouth and networking are also important, Queensland said.
Those efforts may already be paying off. Another person has contacted the EDA expressing interest to move an agriculture business to the park, Meier said.
Olson’s Tree Service is already in the park, but the property was already at its current location before the land became the industrial park, Meier said.
The business park is about 40 acres. More than 30 acres of land is still available on the site, Queensland said. How many businesses in the park when it’s completed will likely depend on the size of the businesses, he said.
The Mower County Board of Commissioners will likely eliminate funding for Mower County economic development agencies from the 2010 budget, but Queensland said that will not affect work on the industrial park.
Businesses interested in a site at the park can call EDA Coordinator Michelle Vrieze at (507) 867-3164.