Solomon Valley Economic Development held their August meeting this past Thursday. Dan Stephens of the Kansas Department of Commerce presented awards to local businesses recognized by the state during Business Appreciation Month in June. Stephens spoke about the annual event.
Stephens then talked about the first of two Mitchell County honoree businesses.
Stephens then recognized the second Mitchell County honoree business.
Robert Davis gave the treasurer’s report. SVED currently has $122,220 in funds scattered across several checking and saving accounts as well as certificates of deposit.
Community Development Director Heather Hartman work continues in the application projects for the next round of Community Development Block Grants for housing rehabilitation and demolitions. Hartman discussed some differences in the program as compared to previous years.
The City of Beloit’s application will be submitted by the end of this month, and grant awardees will be notified in January.
Hartman also discussed a moderate-income housing project. The average price of new homes recently built in Beloit is around $350,000. Hartman said there is a shortage in our area of homes in the $200,000 range. The moderate-income housing project grant could help perspective homeowners with down-payment assistance with an income cap of about $100,000 for a family of four. The application for Beloit will be submitted in mid-September.
Hartman shared that Mitchell County spent $19,000 in grant funds for the Community Clean-up project earlier this summer. There will be another $20,000 available to apply for next year.
She also said $10,400 has been awarded to purchase 15 automatic electronic defibrillators throughout the county. Those entities included city offices, fire stations and a church. Each unit costs about $1,300. Recipients provided matching funds at 50 percent. Mitchell County EMS Director Kelly Hawk is training all the recipients to use the devices.
NCK Tech received a grant for their Nursing Lab which will undergo a significant remodel in the coming months. Some upgrades already began this summer including the addition of simulators for nursing students.
The Mitchell County Regional Medical Foundation also received grant funds which will help provide upgrades to the Purdue House, particularly on the exterior. They also continue to work with the City of Beloit on the Safe Routes to School Program.
Details about the First Impressions Program through K-State Research and Extension, which took place over the summer, were distributed. Hartman highlighted suggestions such as better directional signage and website improvements for the city as well. She also said the “secret shoppers” from Clay Center most enjoyed the courthouse and other stone buildings in town. They also noted the downtown streetlights and brick streets.
Kent Miller delivered the tourism report. He requested that attempts to light the sign directing traffic to Beloit and Waconda Lake at the U.S. 24 and 81 Junction be discontinued due to consistent difficulties encountered in trying to light the sign and keep it lit. After several minutes of discussion there seemed to be a consensus that the sign will not be lit moving forward.
SVED Board President Curt Frasier said there will be a Strategic Doing meeting on September 27 at 7 p.m. at NCK Tech. Strategic doing is a new program requirement for community foundations to continue to be eligible for future grant award from the Dane G. Hansen Foundation.
Frasier also said Leadership Mitchell County will begin its 18th year in September at Ringneck Ranch in Tipton.
Beloit Area Chamber Director Gina Broeckelman said she is currently working on the final aspects of the community profile. She is also looking into options for signage for the chamber office located on the ground floor of the Porter House which First Impressions visitors said was somewhat difficult to locate.
Brandi Zimmer of NCK Tech said students started back this past Monday. She thanked all the businesses who participated in a community fair at NCK Tech to help familiarize new students with what Beloit has to offer in terms of businesses and amenities. She said they are also looking at having a drive-in style movie at the college sometime this fall.
Beloit City Manager Jason Rabe updated the group on the ongoing work for the Safe Routes to School. He said Phase I of the project is being rebid in October and the city hopes to break ground in Spring. They will also be having an onsite meeting with KDOT in preparation for Phase II.
Mitchell County Commissioner Tom Claussen said work is slow, but progressing, on the Tipton Blacktop bridge replacement. It is expected to likely be finished sometime in October. He added that Nicole McDaniel is writing a grant for a courthouse renovation project. Claussen said if they are not awarded the grant, the county plans to go ahead with the project and foot the bill themselves.
It was also announced during the meeting that there will be an open house and music program at the Beloit Arts Center on Tuesday, this week, from 4-6 p.m.
SVED regularly meets on the third Thursday of each month at the North Central Regional Planning office in Beloit at 12:30 p.m.