Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

USDA Rural Developmentrecently surpassed the $1 billion mark in our Single-Family Housing program in Minnesota.


What does that mean? It means we've made or guaranteed over $1 billion in home loans in Minnesota since 2009. It means that thousands of rural individuals and families have used Rural Development programs to achieve home ownership. It also means that we are continuing to make progress in our economic recovery, even in hard-hit industries like housing.

According to the National Association of Realtors ( ), the sale of a median priced home generates $30,792 in economic activity. Home purchases mean people are buying furniture, home furnishings and other goods and services.

Rural housing equals rural jobs, and it's important that we make that clear. By making home ownership affordable, we are doing much more than ensuring that someone has a place to live. We are improving the entire community through jobs, economic development and community sustainability.

June is Homeownership Month and we will be highlightinghousing's impact on our rural communities and regions.Most people associate economic development and job creation with our business and infrastructure programs. We need to include housing as well.

To learn more about our housing programs, check out ourSingle-Family ( ) and Multi-Family ( ) Housing programs.

Colleen Landkamer (

USDA Rural Development Loan Guarantee Helps St. Peter Food Co-op Expand

USDA Rural Development State Director Colleen Landkamer visited the St. Peter Food Co-op ( )on May 23to officially sign closing documents on a $1.28 million loan guarantee through Wells Federal Bank ( ) that helped finance the purchase and renovation of a building off Mulberry St. to serve as the co-ops new location.

The new store, which opened on April 14, is twice as large as the previous location, has expanded hours, additional parking, larger indoor and outdoor seating areas, a staffed wellness desk and a broader selection fresh local foods and products.

This project meets President Obamas goals for rural communities in several areas, Landkamer said. It increases access to quality locally grown foods ( ), it saves and creates jobs and it increases the flow of private capital in rural areas.

Through its Business & Industry ( ) loan guarantee program, Rural Development guarantees loans from private lending institutions to rural businesses. The program plays a key role in creating local jobs and increasing access to private capital in rural communities.

Since 2009, Rural Development has guaranteed over $60 million in loans from private lending institutions to rural businesses.

The St Peter Food Co-op relocation and expansion was an exciting project and Wells Federal Bank was pleased to have been a part of it, said Matt Zebro, vice president of Wells Federal.

For over 31 years, the member-owned St. Peter Food Co-op has offered personalized customer service and natural, organic, Fair Trade and locally produced food and wellness products. The new facility also features a larger deli, the largest and freshest salad bar in town, a classroom area, and hot sandwich and burrito bars.

We feel the USDA loan guarantee gave Wells Federal confidence in our expansion project in a time when banks were forced to be extremely conservative in their lending, said co-op General Manager Margo OBrien.

A staff member at the St. Peter Food Co-op provides an overview of the locally-grown produce section.

Riverwood Healthcare Center Breaks Ground on Major Expansion Project

Riverwood Healthcare Center ( ) in Aitkin broke ground on a major expansion project on May 11 that will make all patient rooms private, add chemotherapy space, expandthe medical records and human resources departments andincrease efficiency bybringing all administration sections into acentral location.

And just as important, the project will create and save valuable jobs in the region, both during the construction phase and well into the future.

"Healthcare facilities are incredible assets to rural communities," said Tammye Trevino ( ), the Administrator of USDA Rural Development's Housing and Community Facilities programs ( ). Trevino traveled from Washington D.C. to attend the groundbreaking.

Rural Development partnered with Agstar Rural Capital Network ( )to finance the project. Rural Development provided a $12 million direct loan and guaranteed a $4 million loan through Agstar.

The project was originally projected to be completed in multiple phases over a 10-15 year period. The USDA and Agstar financing made it possible to complete the entire project by 2013.

"It just all came together because of partnerships," said Mike Hagen, Riverwood CEO. "We could not have been able to do this without the cooperation and partnership from people in the public, private and nonprofit sectors."

To learn more about Riverwood's expansion, visit the Riverwood Foundation website ( ).

Breaking ground on an expansion project for the Riverwood Healthcare Center in Aitkin.

Rodney and Betty Hestekin Recognized for Dedication to Rural Affordable Housing

In December of 2009, an apartment building owned by Rodney and Betty Hestekin sustained major damage in a fire. The apartment was part of USDA Rural Developments Section 515 Multi-Family Housing ( ) program. All 18 tenants living in the building were displaced.

Rodney and Betty immediately sprang into action. They worked with tenants to ensure that each found a temporary place to live. They also made sure the building was repaired as quickly as possible so tenants could move back and return to life as it was before the fire.

The Hestekins response was no surprise to Rural Development staff that works with the couple in the East Central ( ) region of Minnesota. Both Rodney and Betty are known as owners that put the needs of their tenants first and go the extra mile to ensure that their properties remain quality places to live.

When were walking though a unit, we ask ourselves, would we want to live here? Rodney said. To me, thats the least we can do for someone thinking about living in one of our buildings.

Rural Developmentrecently partnered with the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency ( ) and the Greater Minnesota Housing Fund ( )to host a series ofhousing dialogues throughout Minnesota. The three organizations also announced regional partners in affordable housing awards at each dialogue. The Hestekins were recognized on April 29 at the dialogue in St. Cloud.

Rodney and Betty have been borrowers and managers in Rural Developments Multi-Family Housing program since 1985. They own properties in Stacey, New Haven and Wyoming.

During their time in the program, Rodney and Betty have been dedicated to providing good housing to low-income seniors. Their properties are safe, clean, well-maintained and models for other multi-family units throughout Minnesota.

Minnesotas Rural Development office oversees the management of about 600 multi-family housing properties containing over 11,000 units throughout the state.

Rodney and Betty Hestekin, left, with State Director Colleen Landkamer and Rod Jackson, Acting Multi-Family Housing Program Director.

Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet Breaks Ground on $27 Million Project

A $27 million expansion project for Community Memorial Hospital ( ) (CMH) in Cloquet is officially underway. The expansion will add over 80,000 square feet to the facility and create about 300 local jobs during the construction phase.

"I tell ya it's going to be night and day what our current place looks like versus the care we're going to be able to give, the services we're going to be able to offer," said Rick Breuer, CMH CEO.

USDA Rural Development and Agstar Rural Capital Network ( ) are financing most of the project. Rural Development awarded a $15 million direct community facilities loan and guaranteed a $9 million loan through Agstar. CMH is raising $3 million through a capital campaign.

Rural Development and Agstar have teamed to provide $50 million in financing for hosptials in Aitkin, Cloquet and Aurora in 2011.

A major feature of the CMH expansion is the addition of a dialysis unit. The nearby Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa ( ) donated $200,000 toward the construction of the dialysis unit. Tribal members will no longer have to travel long distances for life-saving dialysis treatment.

Colleen Landkamer, second from right, joins Fond du Lac Chairwoman Karen Diever, second from left, in breaking ground on the Community Memorial Hospital expansion.

Check out the USDA blog ( ) for a story on water/wastewater improvements in Freeport.

May's spotlight program is the Value-Added Producer Grant Program. ( )

Call or visit a local office ( ) to learn more about Rural Development programs.


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