A few updates on the projects the Ortonville EDA is working on (and with who!)
The City Council has taken action to submit the Small Cities Development Grant Application! Kristi Fernholz, Planning Director, and Bernice Robinson, Grant Management Specialist, of the Upper Minnesota Valley Regional Development Commission will be writing the grant, and if the grant is awarded, they will also be administering the program. Ortonville EDA Staff, Vicki Oakes, has been assigned to assist Kristi and Bernie with the process as needed (there are lots of details that go with this program and we’ve been working!) An online pre-application (interest form) can be completed online, or a hard copy can be obtained from the City Office – and returned to the City Office… more information on the online form and details can be found at this LINK: SCDG
Commercial projects could be eligible for up to $40,000 in grant funds
Owner-occupied residential homes could be eligible for up to $25,000 in grant funds
Eligible rehab projects – gutters, windows, doors, siding, insulations, electrical, heating/furnace, water heater, fuse box replacement, energy efficiency improvements, plumbing, roofing, foundation, safety improvements, accessibility improvements, lead testing and removal, and building code violations
The City held its public hearing at last night’s City Council meeting. If you’re interested and in need of rehab, please check the criteria and complete an interest form by February 10th! LINK: SCDG
Big Stone County has been selected (of course that was not a random selection! Both Vince Robinson and Lisa Graphenteen of Big Stone Area Growth wrote the grant application before we were ‘just selected’!) – This has been a great community involvement process; however, it has been moving along quickly and keeping us busy! You can check out the Community Vision Meeting (watch the video), watch the Brainstorm Meeting, and check out all the documentation along the way – i.e. Project List for Voting, various presentations, and read all about the program by checking out this LINK. We’ve now separated into subcommittees and are working on projects to submit… we have an opportunity to spend $100,000 of Blandin money (which, depending on the project type will come through a 3:1 match – my personal favorite – and others being 2:1 or 1:1)
The Ortonville EDA staff (Vicki, me!) is working on the Training Project Team. Our proposal is a work in process at the moment; however, we are looking at an eCommerce training session that will provide information on various eCommerce platforms to help our businesses and individual artists decide on a platform that will be a good fit for their situation – we will then look at what individual personal training could come out of that process. A quick call to one of my go-to’s when I need help fast – Dawn Hegland of the UMVRDC – and I think we will have a good connection to provide some of the other training that businesses and artists submitted in our interest survey… more on that will be forthcoming! I’m also working with Suzanne Souza of the Big Stone County 4-H on possible iPad and Android Tablet training that some of our County’s tech-savvy 4-H’ers could assist with!
Ward Odom of the Big Stone County Veteran’s Office is the project lead for training assistance for our Veterans to maneuver through the vast amount of online searches in the medical, benefits, and all of the other online forms and information that they need to find and complete on a regular basis. This Committee has completed their work and is ready to present their project! (they are a sub-group of the Training project – and obviously overachievers for as fast as they put all that together!)
As an Ortonville EDA staff, I’m also on the City Smart/Zoom rooms project; however, there really isn’t much for me to do when you have the County’s Tech expert, Matthew Anderson, leading the project. Here, I am just along for the ride with a few “that sounds really good” comments – and then, of course, credit for being on the Committee when they are up and running in each of our communities! 😊
Lisa Graphentine of BSAG is working on some other pieces/projects while trying to keep all the Project Teams on schedule and completing the right info for our presentations. She also just recently advised that Blandin has committed to also (over and above the $100,000) providing 50 refurbished PCs for distribution in Big Stone County for those that would need one! — more to come on this process!
Yes! We are working to expand child care slots, particularly in the infant and toddler age group. UPDATE: Please fill out a Survey and help in this process! www.ortonvillechildcare.com
Sara Wollschlager of the Ortonville School worked on/submitted a grant through First Children’s Finance to help work through the community process of expanding child care in the Ortonville School District. However, before the process was to begin there were changes at the school and they did not feel that they could facilitate this process. They called the Ortonville EDA to see if we could take on that lead. And we were happy to take this on!! We have put together an awesome core group and we just completed our training from Jessica Beyer and the team from First Children’s Finance. We are now breaking out into three groups and beginning the work – and we will be reaching out for input and assistance so if you feel child care is an important need in our area and you have some time (of any amount) to assist, please give me (Vicki) a call at 320-839-6155.
Our Core Group is –
Matt Karels, Economic Development & Business
Sara Wollschlager, Ortonville School and School Daycare
David Rogers/Kirsten Karels – OAHS, our largest employer
Kari Dorry, Ortonville School
Brenda Zahrbock, Local & long time Daycare Provider
Nancie Haukos, Local faith-based representative
Krista Hartman, Businesses owner & School Board member
Emily Sigler, Big Stone Family Service Center (child care)
Kelsie Thomas, parent (and awesome community person!)
Scott Marquardt, Southwest Initiative Foundation
Marge Knudson, Prairie Five & Parent Aware Program
Carrie Bendix, Southwest Private Industry Council
At the EDA, we of course continue to provide our loan programs, our work with BSAG on the MNbump initiative, maintaining the City’s website (you’re here, on it!), and other community development work.
Ortonville EDA Board members are:
Becky Parker, President
Matt Karels, VP & CC Rep
Jacob Bollman, Treasurer
Shane Ayres, Secretary
Gene Hausauer, CC Rep