Bryant industrial park ready for growth

Heartland HELP Fund loan and State LIIP grant assist with infrastructure improvements to prepare for first tenant

A new industrial park in Bryant, SD is taking shape after months of hard work by community developers.

Owned by local development corporation Bryant Area Improvement (BAI), the industrial park recently welcomed its first tenant, DSR, Inc.

Now, working with several community partners, BAI is finalizing steps towards the installation of infrastructure throughout the entire 11-acre park. Officials hope the project will provide for better access to the DSR facility as well as attract and support future development in the area.

Loss leads to opportunity

DSR is a diesel repair shop specializing in large diesel vehicles such as semi-trucks, farm tractors, earth-moving equipment and other heavy machinery. Owned by Randy and Carol Reddig, DSR had successfully operated in Vienna, SD since 1998.

A devastating fire destroyed DSR’s shop and equipment in the spring of 2018, resulting a total loss for the Reddigs.

Completely displaced, Randy and Carol began the search for a new headquarters, one that would better fit their needs. Community developers in nearby Bryant learned of their situation and took action.

BAI purchased eleven acres adjacent to Bryant city limits with the intent to develop it as an industrial park. After the purchase, BAI requested for the property to be annexed into the city in order to have access to all city services including water, sewer, electric and more.

“We thought we could appeal to them with a shovel-ready site plus reliable utilities,” said Jeff Davis, secretary of BAI. “Ultimately, it paid off as they chose to relocate to our community.”

DSR purchased six acres in the new industrial park and built a 9,750 square-foot facility consisting of shop and office spaces. With the larger space they also doubled their staff from three to six full-time employees and enjoy convenient access to highways with heavier load limits which accommodate their clientele. 

“DSR purchased and is occupying over half of the available property in the industrial park,” added Davis. “Needless to say, we couldn’t be happier to have them in Bryant. They are a solid business that will have a positive impact on our community for years to come.”

Partnerships provide financing for infrastructure

DSR’s decision to relocate to Bryant was contingent on the development of infrastructure to the site. BAI secured financing from the state’s Local Infrastructure Improvement Program (LIIP) as well as the city’s wholesale electric power supplier, Heartland Consumers Power District to help pay for the necessary improvements.

Awarded through the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, LIIP provides grants to assist in funding the construction or reconstruction of infrastructure for the purpose of serving economic development projects.

With help from First District Association of Local Governments, a community planning and economic development organization, BAI acquired a $267,000 LIIP grant.

Because LIIP money must be matched, BAI utilized the Heartland Economic development Loan Program (HELP) Fund, a revolving loan program that promotes community development by funding business ownership and expansion, job creation and retention, and entrepreneurial endeavors.

“To make regional economies stronger we must first support local businesses,” said Casey Crabtree, Heartland director of economic development and governmental affairs. “Infrastructure improvements will increase reliability and ensure continued vitality in the community.”

TIF District will help recoup costs, improve area

With financing in place and a tenant secure, BAI’s next step was to establish the park as a TIF District. For assistance, officials turned to Toby Morris of Dougherty & Company, LLC, an investment bank and brokerage firm.

“A TIF district helps overcome costs that often prevent development and private investment from occurring,” said Morris. “New investment equals new jobs and more customers, and in turn, more investment opportunity and money for the community.”

TIF, or tax increment financing, is an incentive utilized by local governments to attract and retain private development and investment. Land within a TIF District has an increased property value, and the corresponding property tax revenue is used to pay for improvements within the district. As the area is developed, property values rise which generates more money for improvements, and so on.

“Tax Increment Financing is one of the most powerful economic development tools to help communities achieve their goals,” Morris said.

Creating additional opportunities

Along with the LIIP grant and HELP Fund loan, Bryant’s TIF district will pay for infrastructure improvements and extension of services within the park, including water, sewer and street reconstruction.

Once completed, it will create opportunities for additional commercial and residential development, which Crabtree says is the ultimate goal.

“We want to do more than attract that first tenant,” he said. “We want to help cities attract future tenants and accommodate further growth. We are a partner throughout the entire process so that at the end of the day, our customer communities are ready for development.”

2018 Annual Meeting provides insight on PURPA, other topics

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Group plans to build hotel and conference center in Madison

A group of local investors hopes to bring a new hotel and conference center to Madison. Madison Hospitality Group, LLC announced their plans at the LAIC Forward Madison 3 Investor Social Thursday evening.

The group is led by Terry Schultz and Ron Howe.

“We’ve been working on this project for some time and we are excited about the impact it will have on the community,” said Schultz. “We first launched the idea in 2011, but at the time things didn’t line up. Studies have shown a need for this type of hotel in Madison and we look forward to seeing it, and hopefully a conference center, come to fruition.”

Artist rendering of the proposed hotel and convention center.

They have been working with the Lake Area Improvement Corporation and purchased a piece of property within the Lakeview Industrial Park. The group is hoping to develop this into a 70-room hotel with a 6,400 square-foot conference center.

“The LAIC fully supports the addition of a hotel and conference center,” said Julie Gross, executive director of the office. “We always need more space to host meetings and hotel rooms are in short supply when the city hosts big events, whether it be for the school, sports, Prairie Village or any other event.”

The group has applied for financing from Madison’s wholesale power supplier, Heartland Consumers Power District, as well as from Sioux Valley Energy’s Rural Electric Economic Development, Inc. (REED).

“Heartland is excited to be working on this project and putting our resources behind it,” said Casey Crabtree, director of economic development. “This project is a true community effort. Members of the business community, Dakota State University and the school district have expressed their support and we look forward to it becoming a reality.”

The Heartland Economic development Loan Program (HELP) Fund promotes community development in customer communities through a revolving loan fund. If the project moves forward, it would also be eligible for growth and hiring incentives through Heartland.

Representatives from Sioux Valley Energy’s REED Fund met to discuss the project and are looking forward to working with them on an application for financing, according to Betty VanDerWerff of Sioux Valley Energy.

REED provides business and community project financing in partnership with commercial and other economic development lenders to leverage private investment. Established in 1996 and governed by 23 electric cooperatives, REED assists projects that promote growth and contribute to job, business and wealth creation, as well as improve the infrastructure, community facilities/services and economic base of rural areas.

The group has most of the pieces in place to move forward, but is waiting on one key element to green light the project.

“Madison Hospitality Group plans to approach Lake County regarding Tax Increment Financing, commonly re@madisonsdus  ferred to as TIF, to help with the conference center only,” added Schultz.  “To date, Lake County has completed five TIFs, all which have been successful. The TIF is an essential piece to the success of the conference center.  Given the success the county has seen in the past with TIFs, we are optimistic about this going through.”

Madison Hospitality Group has the option to sell the piece of property back to the LAIC for the purchase price if the TIF does not go through.

Housing boom in growing Volga

29 new housing permits is a record for the small town

By Eric Sandbulte, The Brookings Register
Reprinted; Originally published in the October 29 issue of The Brookings Register.

A lot has changed in the small town of Volga, even in the last couple of years.

“We’re growing; our community is becoming more vibrant,” said Volga Mayor Randy Santema. “Our school is filled up again, and we have kids and young families all over the place that have chances to come here, have a good job, have a good quality of life. When you see the new houses going up, it’s just an indicator of how well the people in the community are doing.”

It’s all because of a recent housing spike this year, with a record 29 new permits issued, the highest it’s been in at least 10 years.

Of those, 27 are for new single-family units, and the remaining two were for multi-family units.

This year’s sudden increase follows a recent, smaller spike when 40 permits were issued between 2012 and 2014.

volga-city-view-1-webThere are two main developments in Volga responsible for this year’s housing boom. On the west side of town, developer Joel Edman has been working to provide affordable housing, and Erik Schlimmer’s Sunrise Addition is on the east end.

Edman’s development has 25 homes being built; only six lots are left.

“That’s pretty fast considering we just got a road this spring,” Edman remarked.

And that doesn’t include the pair of multiplex rental units he’s building in town.

His buyers are a mixed bunch, consisting of those looking to downsize, which has the added bonus of freeing up larger homes. Others are first-time home buyers, and some just want to buy a new home without the hassle of going through the construction process themselves.

Schlimmer had a similar story to tell. At his development, there are 20 single-family residential lots, 16 of which are sold or pending, and seven multi-family lots, two of which are sold.

“It exceeded expectations by far,” Schlimmer said. “When my parents developed in the late ’90s, five, six, seven, eight in a year was a good year. We just started selling ours a little over a year ago and you can see where we’re at.”

And he’s seeing a lot of young families moving in his lots.

“They have anywhere from infants up to high-schoolers, but the majority of them are grade school kids. It’s all young families, a very young demographic,” Schlimmer said.

“By the time we get all this said and done, just (from Schlimmer and me), we’re going to have built 50 homes, two twin homes and three five-plexes in about six years. That’s a lot of bodies, people in our area, just from us,” Edman said.

All this has had a major impact on the Sioux Valley School District, which had a fall enrollment of 675, a 30-student increase from the previous year.

“I pulled out a strategic plan from 2010, and at that point, the student population had leveled off and declining enrollment was even a concern at that point and time,” Sioux Valley School District Superintendent Larua Schuster said. “That was just six years ago. In six years, things have turned around and changed significantly.”

Most affected by this year’s high enrollment are the ninth grade and elementary grades. Sioux Valley even had to hire another second-grade teacher.

“We are, for the most part, a two-section school, but we do now have three sections of second grade, three sections of third and three sections of ninth grade as well. We’re anticipating that eventually, we could be looking at three sections of our elementary, K-5 and even up into our middle school through eighth grade,” Schuster said.

In order to make long-term plans, she said they’ll be conducting studies “to get as much population and statistical information as we possibly can.”

Volga City Administrator Jameson Berreth
Volga City Administrator Jameson Berreth

Even though Volga’s growth has thus far been mostly residential, City Administrator Jameson Berreth would like to see more commerce start to come in as well.

“We are the bedroom community of Brookings. That’s OK and we recognize that, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have businesses here. If we’re going to be a bedroom community, we’re going to try to be the best bedroom community we can,” Berreth said. “If people have jobs or other opportunities in the Brookings area, but they want to live in a smaller town, we want to be the place for them to go.”

Faced with a quickly growing population, city leaders want to get a better handle on the future, both in the short term and long term.

This means they’ll be looking into strategic planning and collaborating with Brookings.

“We all kind of want to gauge how much growth there has been and then where that growth is going, how long it will continue,” Berreth said. “We’re talking to Brookings on what they’re expecting because that obviously influences us.”

Then, “the whole community can prepare for that growth and build enough, but not too much or too little,” he added.

Being able to accurately plan ahead is critical to ensuring that there will be enough city staff and resources to provide quality public services to all the town’s residents.

“Right now, we’re fine where we’re at, but as the city continues to grow, it puts a strain on our staff and services and budget,” Santema said. “If you look at where most of our residential growth has gone, they’re in TIFs, so we have to pay off the TIF before we collect on greater property tax revenues, which means we’re about five to ten years down the road from collecting more money from what we were getting before.”

According to a population projection conducted by Banner Associates, Volga should continue to grow from its 2015 population of 1,800. It’s estimated that by 2045, Volga will have anywhere from 2,400 to 6,000 residents, though Santema believes a more likely range would be from 2,400 to 2,900.

No matter the precise range, Volga will be challenged in finding new places to build to provide housing for those newcomers. The town is boxed in by the highway and industry to the north, the soybean plant to the east and low spots to the west. Whatever solutions are presented in the future will require cooperation with surrounding landowners.

“Suddenly, we went from having all this space to, boy, we really have to think about where we can grow and where is the best place to grow,” Berreth said.

Although there are a lot of unknowns about the town’s future, in the present, residents are happy to call Volga home and are excited about its good fortune, he added.