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Frazee receives grant for business development

Frazee has been awarded a $90,000 grant to retain, expand and draw new businesses to town.

The grant money comes from the USDA Rural Development as a part of the Recovery Act Grant.

Frazee City Clerk Jon Smith said the local EDA has also contributed $10,000, so the city has an even $100,000 to work with.

"There are a couple small businesses that might access it," he said of the interest already shown in the grant money.

Although the city has known for a couple months about the grant award, USDA Rural Development state director Colleen Landkamer formerly presented the city with the news last week.

"It's real nice," Smith said. "We're very excited for it."

Landkamer also presented the Minnesota State Community and Technical College, DL, Business and Entrepreneurial Services Center with a grant for $99,335. That money, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will be used for instructors and to purchase equipment used to provide technical assistance to area small businesses.

Frazee's grant will also be used to support the tourism industry in Frazee, but not necessarily for tourism. The grant is strictly for businesses, but Smith said they are hoping to attract businesses interested in tourism.

"We're working on our trail development, and we want to attract businesses that would be attracted to that," he said.

Those businesses, he explained, would be more the niche sort of business, directed more toward tourism.

"We can't use that money," he said, as in the city can't use the money to develop the trails.

"It's strictly to be used as gap financing."

Besides having the extra money upfront to help businesses, Smith said it's nice because once the money is paid back, it can be used over and over again.

"Our optimistic thought is to create 14 jobs through the life of this loan.

"We want to find businesses to take a chance with Frazee," he said, adding that with the development of the Heartland Trail, hiking trails and the water trail, there should be businesses out there with interest.