The city of Dundas, cited in 2017 as the fastest-growing Rice County community, has relaunched its Economic Development Authority, a move the City Council hopes will spark further economic and residential growth.

During an April 26 meeting, the Dundas City Council authorized restarting the EDA after a few meetings of the council’s Business Development Committee, which consisted of Mayor Glenn Switzer and Councilor Luke LaCroix. The committee produced a list of short- and long-term goals in relation to business development in Dundas, including reestablishing the EDA. The EDA is expected to include the entire City Council, but Dundas Administrator Jenelle Teppen noted the council could appoint community or business leaders to serve on the board in the future.

She said the council authorized reestablishing the EDA to be “more proactive” in attracting and retaining businesses within city limits. Another perceived benefit in doing so is the EDA’s ability to reach out to business owners to gauge whether they need additional support. Teppen said one of the first things the EDA will work on is producing a “comprehensive” list of available commercial properties that could be widely marketed.

LaCroix said a top EDA priority will include expanding the community’s business reach and increasing the number of recreational attractions to keep residents from traveling to Rochester or the Twin Cities for activities. He said doing so would also decrease the residential tax burden.

“We could use more restaurants … recreation,” he added.

“We’re to the point where we are looking at how to grow the city.”

However, LaCroix added that he is pleased with the progress of community development in Dundas, including the recent announcement that Slumberland Furniture would relocate into the former Kmart building and the recent introduction of Canvas Church, MGM Wine & Spirits and Kwik Trip into Dundas. LaCroix noted the City Council also authorized the formation of an EDA in 1999, but nothing came of it.

“It’s a pretty exciting time,” he said.

The 2022 EDA budget is expected to be established in a future meeting. The first meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. May 10. During the meeting, draft bylaws and a regular meeting schedule are expected to be introduced.

Economic development authorities are authorized under state statutes to levy taxes for economic development purposes. Per state statutes, EDAs can create districts by acquiring properties through leasing, purchasing, gifting, devising, or condemning property. EDAs can also undertake contracts for economic development purposes, or contract with federal or state governments.

Reach Associate Editor Sam Wilmes at 507-645-1115. © Copyright 2021 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All rights reserved.

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