Kevin Ketelsen joined the UMVRDC as the Community Development Specialist in February 2022. Kevin grew up on a small farm in northern Iowa and has a Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University. Upon graduating from ISU, he was a regional planner in western Iowa until moving to Minnesota in 2008. Upon arrival in Minnesota, he helped with the construction of his family home and became a stay-at-home dad after the birth of his third child. Kevin and his wife, along with their three children, reside in Alexandria, where their children keep them very busy with their activities. He enjoys spending time with his family, going to his children’s events, watching Iowa State basketball and football games, biking, fishing, and being outdoors. Kevin is excited to be a part of the UMVRDC team and looks forward to serving the region.
Employment Opportunity: Loan Officer
Are you or someone you know in the lending field who is looking for a change? The UMVRDC is looking for full-time Loan Officer with lending experience. This position’s primary responsibility will be the management of the UMVRDC’s Revolving Loan Fund that provides gap financing for startup or expanding businesses in the region.Learn More
Prairie Waters 2022-2023 Visitors Guide Coming SOON
Staff have been working on the brand new 2022-2023 Prairie Waters Visitor/Relocation Guide expected to be available the end of March! You will find information on things to do, unique community features, employment, healthcare, education, events, residents’ stories, cost of living data, and more! Once delivered, staff will begin distributing the guides to business and organizations throughout the region and beyond. There will be a digital guide available, as well.
UMVRDC Helps Market the Community of Granite Falls
The Granite Falls Economic Development Authority (EDA) asked the UMVRDC to assist in creating marketing materials to use for recruiting new residents to the city of Granite Falls. The UMVRDC created two stories highlighting resident’s lifestyles and what they enjoy most about living in Granite Falls. In addition, information on the city’s housing, healthcare, education, childcare, employment, things to do, community engagement was collected and put into a brochure. These marketing pieces serve as a welcoming kit for potential new newcomers. The EDA and City will use these marketing materials to entice new residents to move the community.Jordan & Kayla’s StoryJan’s StoryGranite Falls Quality of Life
A benefit of being a Prairie Waters Member includes receiving a community toolkit that employers can use to encourage potential new employees to accept a position and move to the area. Several of the Prairie Waters members like Granite Falls, have asked for additional customization to their toolkit to add more details about their community.Community Toolkit
2022 Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference
This year, UMVRDC staff attended the Explore Minnesota Tourism Conference virtually. The conference featured live presentations on accessible tourism, navigating the road to recovery from the COVID-19 Pandemic, the importance of small businesses, and more. Staff also had the chance to learn about funding opportunities, new marketing tools, and tourism’s economic impact in Minnesota and the expectations for the year to come. Click the button below to view Tourism’s Economic Impact on Minnesota that was released at the conference. The chart below shows a breakout of the counties in our region.
Tourism’s Economic Impact on the Region
|County||Gross Sales||State Sales Tax||Private Sector Employment|
|Lac qui Parle||4,609,820||324,798||90|
UMVRDC to Hold Transportation Open House
Public comment is requested on the draft Area Transportation Partnership Improvement Program (ATIP) for 2023-2026 regarding projects occurring in Big Stone, Swift, Chippewa, Lac qui Parle and Yellow Medicine Counties. The UMVRDC will hold an open house public meeting on Wednesday, March 30, from 2:00p.m. to 3:30 p.m. via Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/87324382910 . This meeting will include a formal presentation by MnDOT staff on transportation projects at 2 p.m. Below is the comment form for public to leave feedback on upcoming construction projects. Visit our website for more info.2022 Transportation Comment Form
UMVRDC Child Care Resources
Childcare continues to be a top critical issue for our region—it’s been a top issue in the past three years based on the UMVRDC annual survey of local leaders. Childcare information can be found on the UMVRDC website. There, you’ll find case studies, funding opportunities, regional resources, and links to other community partners who offer various resources. Staff continues to add and update case studies highlighting childcare facilities in the area, which include start-up info, budgets, enrollment numbers, staffing info, and much more. These serve as a great guide for other communities looking to start up a childcare facility, as they provide information on what has worked in communities like theirs.Child Care Web Page
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Creates Roadmap for UMVRDC Work
Over the course of 2021, UMVRDC staff developed a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) that will be used by the UMVRDC to guide economic development work between 2022 and 2026. The CEDS is a regional economic roadmap that helps map out economic development goals and includes an action plan to address the issues and opportunities highlighted in the plan. The goals were developed by a combination of a CEDS Strategy Committee made up of representatives from all over the region, public engagement, and UMVRDC staff.
In November 2021, the draft CEDS was posted for public review on the UMVRDC website and sent to various stakeholders. After the integration of revisions based on public comment, the CEDS was approved and adopted in January 2022 by the UMVRDC.View CEDS
Successful Grants for Swift County and Madison
In January, the UMVRDC assisted Swift County and the City of Madison in submitting applications to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) competitive grant programs.
Swift County applied for funding under the ARPA Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Program for improvements to the Appleton Area OHV Park. The County requested funding to carry out many of the identified projects listed in their recently adopted 2021 Appleton Area OHV Park Master Plan. Proposed activities include the creation of a day use beach park area for swimming, fishing, and kayaking; walking trails; improved parking areas; permanent restroom facilities; new wells; vehicle wash stations; and improved signage. The County applied for $1,181,393 in federal funds. The total project cost is estimated to be $1,477,424.
The City of Madison applied for funding under the ARPA Economic Adjustment Assistance Program to expand and improve infrastructure to the newly expanded industrial park area in the northwest corner of the community. The improvements will address infrastructure deficiencies in the area for Ziegler, Inc. and the Madison Hometown Lodge, as well as provide capacity for future development. Proposed activities include improvements/expansion of the City’s wastewater collection system, water distribution, stormwater, and some street repair. The City applied for $1,812,720 in federal funds. The total project cost is estimated at $2,265,900.
Revolving Loan Fund Helps Area Businesses
The UMVRDC Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) provides funding for business startups or expansions in the five-county region of Swift, Yellow Medicine, Lac qui Parle, Big Stone, and Chippewa counties. The UMVRDC can be a funding partner with a financial institution and can offer a low rate of interest for the term of the loan. The UMVRDC RLF has special gap loan funding available for businesses impacted from the COVID-19 pandemic. In July of 2020, the RLF received an additional $1.72 million for their loan fund as a result of the CARES Act. The RLF has closed 16 loans for a total of $1,683,500 since receiving the CARES Act funding in June 2020. The remaining CARES funding has been committed but is waiting for the loan to be closed and for funds to be disbursed. Donner’s Garage Inc. in Clara City is the most recent closed RLF loan.
The UMVRDC also applied to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) grant program for an additional $400,000 in RLF funding that will be matched by an additional $100,000 supplied by area counties. The RDC recently received a letter that said our application has been selected for further consideration and the RDC is awaiting a final decision.
Mark your Calendar!
March 22: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
Appleton Armory || 6:30 p.m.
April 26: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
Location TBD || 6:30 p.m.
May 24: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
Location TBD || 6:30 p.m.
June 28: UMVRDC Monthly Meeting
Location TBD || 6:30 p.m.