At today’s Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation board meeting, over $1.5 million in grants were approved to advance projects in northeastern Minnesota. Total combined project investment is over $13.7 million.
The projects are expected to increase the regional tax base, create permanent and construction jobs, provide essential services and improve regional education and workforce. The community and development infrastructure projects are anticipated to create 86 construction and six permanent jobs. The higher education grant retains 23 jobs.
Community Infrastructure Grant: $250,000
Agency Investment $250,000 | Total Investment $7,352,500 | Leverage: 28.4 : 1
City of Babbitt: $250,000 to construct a new wastewater treatment facility and replace the existing sewer collection system piping.
Development Infrastructure Grants: $525,000
Agency Investment $525,000 | Total Investment $6,360,522 | Leverage: 11.1 : 1
Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority: $350,000 to construct infrastructure for development of a new two-bay multi-purpose 21,000-square-foot commercial airplane hangar, to reconstruct an aircraft apron, to construct an 8,000-square-foot parking area, and to construct a 2,000-squarefoot access road.
City of Virginia: $175,000 to construct infrastructure for a new 18-hole miniature golf course.
Iron Range Higher Education Account Grant: $795,000
Agency Investment $795,000
Northeast Higher Education District: $795,000 to continue the Iron Range Engineering program that allows students at Mesabi Range College Virginia campus to earn a Bachelor’s of Science degree in engineering from Minnesota State University Mankato.
Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation is funded through taxes paid by Minnesota’s mining industry. Other funding partners for the infrastructure projects include: Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority, Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), Minnesota Public Facilities Authority (PFA), Point Source Implementation Grant (PSIG), Small Business Administration (SBA), Virginia Economic Development Authority, Water Infrastructure Fund (WIF), and private businesses.
In other business, the board approved Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation’s FY22 budget. The $47.6 million spending plan has dedicated funds for infrastructure and broadband, essential backbones of economic growth. Community funding is also available for social and recreational assets that make northeastern Minnesota a desirable place to live and play. The budget focuses on leveraging capital, improving the quality of life, and retaining and creating good paying jobs. Budget highlights include:
Supporting business and industry in the region with spending of over $13 million to foster economic growth in northeastern Minnesota through low interest loans for infrastructure, demolition, equipment, machinery, building and land acquisitions.
Offering 18 grant programs that bolster community foundational and social assets, setting the table for business development – and funding for Giants Ridge that provides a high quality of life for all the people of the region.
Developing the regional workforce by funding sector specific customized training and career awareness initiatives that address industry needs.
The agency’s fixed costs of supporting these strategies is 9% of the budget.