By Ryan Gueningsman
DELANO, MN A slated start date of next spring/summer is what is being projected for Delano’s northwest business park.
At Thursday afternoon’s Delano Area Chamber of Commerce meeting at Modern Molding, Delano Mayor Dale Graunke said the city’s number-one goal is to provide more space for the companies that are already here.
“We do care about everybody that’s here already,” Graunke said, adding if these companies are growing, Delano officials want to try to provide space for that.
Graunke said the second goal is to provide space to do business for those located elsewhere also considering a relocation or expansion.
“It’s also critical that we complement these businesses,” Graunke said. A lot of these companies have sister companies they do business with, and Delano as a whole benefits when these companies can also locate in town, he added.
Graunke said the northwest business park project is moving forward, and the land agreements are in place.
“We are working through the master plan with the developer, and working with the state and moving forward with the widening of Highway 12 at the entrance to the industrial park,” he said.
He likened the progress on the project to a duck swimming, and said there are things going on under the surface. He also talked about grant funding the project received from the state.
The city is the recipient of a Transportation Economic Development (TED) program grant for $1.6 million. Of that, the council approved agreements for $700,000 through the TED program itself, and another $360,000 through the business development public infrastructure program. The remainder of the $1.6 million will be funded through Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).
“There were 14 communities that received grant money,” Graunke said. “We were one of four that got over $1 million.”
He attributes that to the growth the city experienced in 2011, and said state officials take a look at that and see where a good place is to invest.
The city is projecting a start of next spring/summer for the project, and said a few things still need to fall into place. There is one letter of intent signed, and two more very strong leads, he added.
There are also leads that come to the city and chamber, and Graunke said there are inquiries that come into the city on a fairly regular basis.
“We at least have activity,” he said.