Several options like building expansion, revitalization discussed by local EDA

By Chad Koenen


Members of the Henning EDA are looking for a way to make its money stretch a bit further. 

During its regularly scheduled meeting on Thursday, the Henning EDA discussed a loan program that is available in the City of Fergus Falls. The loan program differs a bit from the Henning EDA, which emphasizes job growth as one of the key factors in acceptable loan applications.

As part of the Fergus Falls program, loans can be given out for things like exterior and interior remodeling, eliminating archetuctual barriers to handicapped and elderly residents, costs associated with converting electrical services from above ground to below ground and energy conservation improvements, among other items.

With the upcoming road project through downtown Henning, Henning EDA member Josh Rud said now might be a good time to see if the Henning EDA can provide zero to low interest loans. The group could also look at other kinds of funding to make building revitalization projects a reality through the Henning EDA.

“I think there is a need (if you) say my business needs to expand, or I need to revitalize my building,” he said. “Why not give them a low interest loan through the EDA.”

He said revitalizing the downtown area could, in turn, create new jobs or business opportunities by sprucing up the area. Since the Countryview Apartments will be paid off in the near future, Rud said the Henning EDA could utilize some of that money to help fund. 

Other Henning EDA members agreed that a focus on revilatzing the community could really make an impact for visitors and residents alike. 

“It would be nice if we could improve our appearance a bit,” said Henning EDA member Glenn Scott. 

Henning EDA member Holly Weller asked if more input could be received from Fergus Falls and other communities who utilize a similar program to find out what has worked and not worked along the way. She said that way Henning could implement a similar program without having to reinvent the wheel. 

The Henning EDA will reach out to local communities who have implemented a similar program to gather more information about revitalization loan programs. 

In other news

• Discussed the continued maintenance at Countryview Apartments. City clerk/treasurer Kim Schroeder highlighted a recent incident at the city-owned apartments in which a resident called to state a toilet was plugged, but was quickly unplugged by city employees. A question over staff time at the facility for things like unclogging toilets was once again discussed by the Henning EDA.

• Discussed the need to have representatives from Dish TV to attend the next Henning EDA meeting to look into television options for the apartment complex.

• Heard from Henning School Superintendent Melissa Sparks concerning an entrepreneurial opportunity through a company that would allow students to participate in more career learning and oriented classes. The cost of the franchise fee for the program was significant and funding to make the program a possibility was being sought locally.