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Wrapping Up 2021: A Look Back At Our Year

The holiday season is coming to a close, and a brand-new year is just a few days away. It’s been a busy year, but we are so proud of everything we’ve accomplished in our mission to facilitate economic growth in the Fergus Falls region.

Now, as we get ready to ring in the new year, we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of our biggest milestones and achievements from 2021. Scroll below to get the details!

Prioritizing Effective Reuse & Redevelopment

This past year, Greater Fergus Falls had the privilege of helping coordinate the effective reuse of several of the area’s vacant properties.

Redevelopment of Former Sunmart Site

Greater Fergus Falls partnered with many great organizations on the sale of the former Sunmart building to Wayne Enterprises, LLC in May. The local development company purchased the property with a plan to redevelop the site into a multi-business facility complete with retail, light manufacturing, warehouse, and distribution space.

The recently completed facility is now home to two local businesses: Cornerstone Cabinets & Countertops and Midwest Bevel Edge. The facility has approximately 38,000 square feet of commercial space for lease with a minimum build-out of 5,000 square feet. If you or someone you know is interested in leasing space in the building, please contact Greater Fergus Falls.

Redevelopment of Former Hedahl’s Site

Earlier this fall, Greater Fergus Falls helped coordinate the acquisition, financing, and redevelopment of the former Hedahl’s site located at 215 Tower Road. The property was purchased by Dental Specialists of Fergus Falls, LLC with the intent to redevelop the site into a permanent oral and maxillofacial surgery clinic that will expand operations for existing orthodontic and pediatric dentistry procedures in the area.

The proposed medical/dental center will also:

  • Improve the region’s access to critical medical and dental services

  • Attract long-distance patients to come to and spend money in our community

  • Retain at least 10 jobs and create up to 15 higher-paying jobs

  • Contribute $7,800 to annual tax revenue

The $2.6 million renovation project will begin this spring and is expected to be completed by the fall of 2022.

Redevelopment of Historic Red River Flour Mill

The historic Red River Flour Mill located on the Otter Tail River in downtown Fergus Falls is on track to be redeveloped into a 5-story, 30-unit boutique hotel. Greater Fergus Falls assisted property owner Kevin Bartram with the technical aspects of securing a $130,000 Redevelopment Grant from MNDEED and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) with the help of the City. The remaining funds for the adaptive reuse project come from private investments and state and federal tax credits for the historic preservation of the former flour mill, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places earlier this year.

Continued Business Growth

Despite a challenging 2020, the Fergus Falls business community has only continued to grow, with many new and existing businesses receiving assistance through Greater Fergus Falls’ Entrepreneur Initiative.

This year, we welcomed several new businesses and startups to the community, including Fergus Pet Camp, Toast, Cardinal Consulting Solutions, 4th Generation Shoe & Leather Repair, and more. We also helped our local businesses celebrate big wins, such as the addition of Peney Cakes’ mobile cupcake trailer, the reopening of The Spot and Namaste Hot Yoga, and the expansion of Sugared Pearl Bakery, Boss Moms, and Creative Handmade Goods.

Photo Credit: Creative Handmade Goods | Jan Werkau

Looking Ahead to 2022

As always, economic growth and development remain a top priority for Greater Fergus Falls in the coming year. The region has been flourishing, and these upcoming projects will bring continued success to the area.

Carleton Rail Access Project

In July, we announced Greater Fergus Falls partnered with the City of Fergus Falls to help Carleton Capital Investments LLC (CCI) secure a $480,000 grant from the MN Department of Transportation (MNDOT) to fund its rail access project.

The grant has aided in constructing a rail spur as part of the new freight loading facility on the Otter Tail Valley Railroad (OTVR) in Fergus Falls. Once completed, the rail access project will have much to offer the region. Some of the benefits include enhancing the competitiveness of our economy and allowing local manufacturers to expand by single-handedly reducing transportation costs and streaming logistics.

Expanding Greater Fergus Falls’ Entrepreneur Initiative

To date, the Entrepreneur Initiative has helped launch over 50 new businesses through free, one-on-one, confidential business coaching. Since its inception, we’ve added additional resources, including the Business Lab, and provided support for startups and early-stage entrepreneurs through strategic partnerships like the ILT Academy. Greater Fergus Falls has big plans to further expand the Entrepreneur Initiative offerings in 2022, which includes establishing a coworking and innovation center.

While 2021 certainly seemed to fly by, we are thrilled and incredibly grateful to have another successful year in the books. It has been a true pleasure to serve our local businesses and the greater community over the last year, and our team can’t wait to see what 2022 brings. From all of us at Greater Fergus Falls, happy new year!

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