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Governor Helps Dedicate Shell Building in Spirit Lake

posted on Tuesday, August 14, 2018 in News

The creation of a new $779,000 speculative shell building on East Fifth Street in Spirit Lake wasPhoto of ribbon cutting event for Spirit Lake Spec Building heralded in January. The building was dedicated Wednesday morning, and Gov. Kim Reynolds joined community members and project partners to cut the ribbon on site in northeast Spirit Lake. Reynolds said a turnkey property like the shell building makes the amenities of the area even more attractive to potential businesses.

The building features a 35-foot ceiling peak and 30-foot eaves, on-site utilities and 4.7 acres of land near county road M56 and Highways 9/71 on the east side of Spirit Lake. The project was financed by both Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative and Corn Belt Power Cooperative. Jim Vermeer, vice president of business development for Corn Belt Power, said the companies have worked together in the past. He said the new shell building is the 32nd in the company's system.

"To help fund those projects across our system, Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, Corn Belt Power and the rest of our assistants have established revolving loan funds that total over $19 million," Vermeer said.

He went on to say the funds were established through USDA programs and other lending programs. In the case of the new shell building, Vermeer said Iowa Lakes Electric applied for a $300,000 grant, and put up $60,000 in matching funds. The funds were then loaned to the Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation's Future Fund at a rate of 0 percent interest for 10 years.

"When those loans are paid back, that's how we build our revolving loan fund, because that's a grant to Iowa Lakes, and then those funds come back and we can re-lend those to subsequent loans," Vermeer said.

Vermeer said both cooperatives made additional loans to the development corporation out of the revolving loan fund to make up the difference in project costs. All in all, he said the process builds business relationships and strengthens rural economies.

Kiley Miller, president and CEO of the development corporation, said energy cooperatives are committed to sustainable community development. Rick Olesen, president and CEO of Iowa Lakes Electric Cooperative, said the company has seen growth in commercial and industrial areas over the last several decades. Olesen said 18 percent of company sales came from commercial or industrial sources in 1987. Today, that number is at approximately 65 percent, he said. Miller agreed the new commercial space will ultimately spur local economic development.

"When it's filled — and God willing, that will be soon — it will create new jobs, increase taxable evaluation and sustain economic energy," Miller said. "In short, northwest Iowa is better for what has been done here today."

Nearly every speaker during the dedication told of the amount of cooperation necessary between the cooperatives, construction companies, engineering firms, signage companies and the USDA to complete the project.

"That's the thing about Iowans," the governor said. "We not only work hard, we work together."

She said the partners and leaders in the construction project had no doubt invested massive amounts of time and resources, all with the goal of attracting development. She said the work put in at the local level not only benefits the community but the state as a whole.

"This close collaboration between the residents, the developers, the community leaders and business stakeholders toward a common vision is inspiring and it starts with people being willing to step up and make it happen," Reynolds said.

She said the next generation of businessmen and women are already thinking of companies they would like to start in the Hawkeye state. The governor began her morning with a visit to the Okoboji Entrepreneurial Institute and met with young, aspiring entrepreneurs.

"You keep building these buildings, because they're going to take that company and turn it into a successful business, and they're going to be filling buildings just like this," Reynolds said.

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Article courtesy of Dickinson County News