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Annual Report


2009 Board Members Rick Estenson President

Northfield Economic Development Authority

Steve Engler Vice President


Rhonda Pownell Secretary/ Treasurer and City Council Representative

The Northfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) was established by the Northfield City Council in September 1990, under Minnesota Statute Chapter 469. The EDA is charged with carrying out economic and industrial development and redevelopment within the City. It is governed by a seven-member Board consisting of two City Council members and five Council-approved members-at-large.

Jim Pokorney City Council Representative Marty Benson Victor Summa

By statute, and with the City Council’s approval, the EDA is granted broad powers to undertake a variety of activities to support and enhance the economic vitality of the City. These activities include tax levy and bonding authority; acquisition, redevelopment and disposal of land and buildings; financial incentives to support business expansion or relocation to Northfield; infrastructure planning and improvement, and marketing and recruitment of businesses that contribute to a positive economic impact on the city and its residents.

Jenelle Teppen (appointed October 2009) David Van Wylen (resigned August 2009)


Northfield Economic Development Authority

2009 WORK PLAN The 2009 EDA work plan was approved by the Board in February 2009. This plan specified activities undertaken by the committees and sub-committees of the EDA: Infill and Redevelopment; Programs, Processes and Procedures; Marketing and Public Relations; Business Retention and Expansion; and Business Park Development. The EDA continues to draw guidance and work toward long-term priorities from the 2006 Comprehensive Economic Development Plan.



he major EDA accomplishment of 2009 was the leadership of the EDA Board in laying the groundwork for the City’s annexation of approximately 530 acres of land in the northwest corner of the city. With the State Boundary Adjustment Board’s approval of this annexation, the EDA proceeded to the next phase of public planning by soliciting proposals for the development of a Master Plan for the proposed business park. Twenty-four firms responded to the Request for Proposal, and the Business Park Committee (EDA members Rick Estenson, Steve Engler, and Rhonda Pownell; Planning Commission members Tracy Davis and Alice Thomas; Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Hasse; Northfield Public Schools finance director, Tom Stringer; and City staff members Brian O’Connell and Jody Gunderson) reviewed the proposals, interviewed finalist firms, and selected Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. A Master Plan Steering and Technical Committee was established, including extensive community expertise and representation from key stakeholder organizations (see sidebar for members). This committee will work directly with, and monitor the activities of, HKGI, ensuring that the process leads to a master plan embraced by the EDA Board, the Planning Commission, the City Council and the general public. HKGI began its work immediately, preparing for a public design charrette held in the Community Resource Bank on December 1-2. A wide range of community leaders attended some or all of the charrette, contributing to a final presentation on a series of potential uses for the annexed land. The process also included consideration of a proposed annexation, the Prawer-Gill land in the southwest corner of the City. Further Master Planning of this property was deferred for further EDA consideration in 2010, pending action by the City Council to initiate annexation proceedings.

MEMBERS OF THE MASTER PLAN STEERING AND TECHNICAL COMMITTEE EDA Representatives Rick Estenson Jim Pokorney Rhonda Pownell Community Representatives Neil Lutsky, CARLETON COLLEGE

Christopher Sawyer, CHAMBER OF COMMERCE


Tim Geary, MALT-O-MEAL





Pete Sandberg, ST. OLAF COLLEGE




Conclude work with Dunbar Development regarding property issues in northwest annexation


The EDA supported the City’s annexation by working with affected property owners.

Engage a consulting firm to undertake Master Plan development for northwest annexation


In August, the EDA hired Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. to develop a Master Plan for eventual approval by the City Council.

Complete Master Plan development for northwest annexation

In progress

The Master Plan process is proceeding on schedule.

Continue discussions with Prawer-Gill regarding southwest annexation

In progress

Annexation of the Prawer-Gill land will come before the City Council in 2010.

Prepare information relevant to consideration of annexation and business park development for northwest and southwest properties.

In progress

ED staff continues to respond to requests for financial projections and cost estimates as requested.

Master Plan Steering Committee activities may be followed at Annual Report 2009




he Infill and Redevelopment Committee’s goal is to support existing businesses and attract new businesses to available properties and development sites within the City, maximizing utilization of existing infrastructure and increasing the commercial and industrial tax base. The committee established six specific goals on which to focus in 2009.



Inventory existing infill and redevelopment sites and available lease space


Support the NDDC on the Downtown Master Plan initiative

COM M ENT Maintenance of the inventory is on-going.


The NDDC is working with other groups to develop a work plan and time line.

Evaluate the need for an Uptown Master Plan (South Highway 3)


Transportation issues are under ongoing discussion with MN-DOT; land development code issues were reviewed and recommendations made to the planning commission.

Identify obstacles and propose solutions to policies that inhibit infill and redevelopment activities


The NDDC has agreed to serve as the lead agency addressing this issue.

Assist in developing a web-based marketing platform for infill spaces

In progress

Identify funding mechanisms to support property acquisition and infill development

In progress

Enhancements are ongoing as the city adopts new GIS technology; recent site enhancements may be viewed on the City’s web site by clicking here or at

The EDA had identified a couple of state programs that could be utilized if the Board determined it wanted to pursue a redevelopment opportunity.

LEARNING FROM THE HOLLAND, MI STORY The Infill committee responded to an opportunity to engage a team of community leaders from Holland, Michigan, in an extended exploration of the successful redevelopment of that city’s downtown business district over a two-decade period. The story of the community partnerships and collaboration that fueled Holland’s renaissance and attracted over $200 million in private and public investment, was an energizing example for Northfield to consider. During a two-day workshop/visit in May, the Holland team (William Johnson, architect and planner; Gordon Van Wylen, former president of Hope College and co-founder of the Riverview Group; Greg Holcombe, co-founder of the Riverview Group; and Philip Meyer, director of community and neighborhood services for the City of Holland), presented Holland as a living case study in community engagement. A wide variety of Northfield’s civic leaders and residents participated in the workshop and subsequent meetings. A group of community leaders is continuing this initiative without further formal involvement of the EDA.

COMMUNITY VIDEO PROJECT A video produced by the Holland, MI group sparked an interest in a similar production highlighting Northfield’s distinctive qualities. An informal group representing some of the community’s most visible institutions continues to meet and discuss the project. It is expected that a modest request for EDA financial support will be forthcoming in early 2010.


Northfield Economic Development Authority



he EDA Board approved a change to the Downtown Revolving Loan Fund to make that program more responsive to the needs of existing Northfield businesses. That change enabled the EDA to enter into a loan agreement that provided partial funding for the renovation of a downtown restaurant space now open as Butler’s Steak and Ale. A change to the Master Development Loan program, also approved by the EDA Board, enabled the EDA to play a role in a renovation project in the Archer House that will result in public access to new restroom facilities, and to provide loan funds to assist StrataPoint, Inc. in relocating to Northfield. The EDA has made minor changes to the bylaws but intends re-codify the bylaws in 2010.




In progress

The EDA Board approved committee recommendations to changes in the Downtown Revolving Loan Fund and the Master Development Loan program.

Identify programs and resources to be included in an economic development “toolbox”


The “toolbox” web page may be found on the City’s web site by clicking here or at Recommendations for additional programming will be identified through the work completed for the Master Development Plan.

Identify grants and other funding opportunities to support EDA initiatives

In progress

Staff has explored Federal stimulus programs and state funding initiatives; evaluation of programs for their applicability to Northfield is ongoing.

In progress

College officials have been involved in Master Plan development and the ad hoc work group exploring a community video, and city staff has been involved in academic classes.

Evaluate EDA economic development programs and recommend changes

Meet with college officials to identity areas of common interest

Identify obstacles to local economic development and recommend potential solutions to relevant governing bodies Review EDA bylaws and processes to ensure compliance with ordinances and statutes

Review and recommend the 2010 EDA budget.


The NDDC has been asked to take responsibility for this initiative as part of its partnership responsibilities.

In progress

Several changes have been approved, and additional changes and updates are under consideration


The 2010 budget was approved by the EDA Board at its December 3, 2009 meeting. The budget presentation included a rolling 3-year forecast to draw board attention to structural issues that affect the EDA’s long-term financial resources.

The PPP committee reviewed six applications for financial assistance and recommended the following grants and loan modifications for approval by the EDA Board: Clement F. Shearer Micro-grants Riverwalk Arts Quarter Sisters Ugly Trinket Foundry (aka Glass Garden Beads) VIVUS Design

$7,500 $3,750 $5,000 $5,000

Matching funds for SMIF grant Acquisition of e-commerce software Acquisition of new production equipment Acquisition of new software

Loan Modifications Non-financial loan extension JEKKL, Ltd. Non-financial refinancing/loan subordination Aleton LLC Annual Report 2009



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he Marketing and Public Relations Committee undertook three main initiatives during 2009. The committee partnered with the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation, the Northfield Enterprise Center, the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Extension Service of the University of Minnesota to conduct an extensive study of Northfield’s retail trade area. This study presented a wide range of data about household demographics, the composition of the Northfield area retail environment, and the gaps in retail services. Study results were presented in public forums, and the study itself made available in print and electronic formats through the partner organizations. The committee recommended the hiring of Occasional Press, LLC, a local marketing consulting firm to create basic marketing materials and assist with public and media relations. In December, print copies of a new community marketing brochure were made available through the EDA’s partner organizations as well as in electronic form on the City’s web site. Media relations activities are ongoing. The marketing committee deferred any further market study pending the results of a market analysis undertaken by Hoisington Koegler Group, Inc. as part of the business park Master Planning process. Results from their work will be available in the first quarter of 2010.



Evaluate potential changes to the EDA’s 2006 Comprehensive Economic Development Plan


Information from the University of Minnesota Extension Service was used to update the plan’s economic assumptions; no other changes were recommended at this time.

Improve the Economic Development Department’s presence on City’s web site

Completed (and in progress)

The EDA pages were enhanced with additional GIS information and the EDA toolbox; additional enhancements are an ongoing process.

Develop a community marketing brochure


Marketing publication and related collateral was produced and a pdf posted on the City’s web site

Begin targeted business recruitment program

In progress

The Master Plan process includes a market/ industry analysis; HKGi has engaged ProLogis to undertake this project.

Continue to attend the CVN Forums

In progress

Staff continues to attend; recent software relocations to Northfield (StrataPoint and the pending Declarix) originated through contact at CVN events.

Investigate other local promotional opportunities

In progress

Partnership programs include EDA support for a variety of commercial programs and promotions.

Meet regularly with government officials at all levels


Staff continues to meet regularly with federal, state and county partners on a wide range of issues.

The EDA also collaborated with Rice County Economic Development, Rice County Communities, and the University of Minnesota Extension Center for Community Vitality on the Rice County Economic Impact Analysis. The analysis features the QuickTake 100 which highlights the economic impact of 100 jobs in a selected industry for Rice County. The purpose of conducting the analysis was to assist communities in making informed economic development decisions.




Northfield Economic Development Authority



usiness retention and expansion efforts have been largely conducted through the EDA’s partner organizations, particularly the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation and the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce. These two organizations have conducted visits to small and medium-size business in the area, assessing obstacles to business expansion and providing support in helping business owners work with the City to sustain and expand their businesses. The Economic Development Director, with EDA members and other City staff, focused attention on building stronger relationships with Northfield’s larger employers, working with Malt-O-Meal, Cardinal Glass, Veterinary Provisions, Multek and Perkins Specialized Transportation Contracting on a wide range of issues, from interaction with governmental bodies to property acquisition and financing. In a difficult economic period, the EDA staff GOAL S TATUS COM M ENT support for businesses seeking state and federal grant Enhance local business database The project was deferred until the completion Deferred to track business conditions of other initiatives. funds was vitally important. The largest single grant Coordinate and conduct business The EDA’s partner organizations were active proposal is an application In progress visits with partner organizations in conducting the majority of business visits. for federal stimulus funds to help Cardinal Glass finance a The ED staff and the EDA Board were active major expansion into solar Help resolve immediate business in working with area businesses to identify technology. At year-end, that concerns by working with approIn progress problems and connect with the relevant City proposal was pending with priate City staff staff to resolve them. the state agency responsible for the administration of Demonstrate community support Media relations activities were initiated at the the funds. for local firms through the media In progress end of 2009, and will continue in 2010. and other publications



he EDA extends its reach through partnerships with other organizations. Funding for the Northfield Downtown Development Corporation (NDDC), the Northfield Enterprise Center (NEC), the Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce (Chamber) and the Southeast Minnesota Initiative Fund (SMIF) is designed to support economic development activity that supports and strengthens Northfield’s business climate. The EDA also works very closely with Rice County Economic Development on its business recruitment efforts. These organizations collaborate on business retention and expansion visits, produce workshops for business owners and entrepreneurs, sponsor community events that draw people to Northfield, and assist with studies of Northfield’s business environment.




Northfield Downtown Development Corporation


To support a wide range of initiatives to support downtown businesses and maintain promotional activities that bring consumers downtown.

Northfield Enterprise Center


To support business development consulting and services to entrepreneurs and start-up businesses.

Northfield Area Chamber of Commerce


To support ongoing Chamber visits to local businesses to explore needs.

Southeast Minnesota Initiative Fund


To support continued involvement of the EDA and local Northfield businesses with SMIF.

NEC northfield enterprise center

Annual Report 2009












EDA Operations




$ 53,289

$ 81,031


Partnership Funding





$ 75,000

$ 75,000

Total Expenditures







CITY OF NORTHFIELD ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT 801 Washington Street Northfield, MN 55057 Phone: 507-645-3018 | | Email:

Economic Development Director: Jody Gunderson | 507-645-3018 | Photographs and illustrations courtesy of Griff Wigley, HKGI, and the City of Northfield.

2009 Annual Reports  

2009 Annual Reports

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