City of Isanti receives ‘shovel ready’ certification

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) has recently awarded Shovel Ready certifications to business park developments in Red Wing, Hutchinson, Grand Rapids, Fairmont, Isanti and Centerville.

The following is the summary of the Shovel Ready site in Isanti:

Isanti, population 5,000, is located about 30 miles north of the Twin Cities in Isanti County. The Isanti Centennial Complex contains four industrial lots priced at $1 each. Other incentives on the 24-acre Shovel Ready site include tax-increment financing, tax abatement and financing below market rates. The site is owned by the city of Isanti. Local contact: Sean Sullivan, economic development director, city of Isanti, 763-444-5512

Shovel Ready certification means a city or developer has completed the planning, zoning, environmental studies, title work, public infrastructure and other pre-construction activities on a designated site. Shovel Ready sites are more attractive to companies that want to move quickly with plans to start up, relocate or expand their operations.

With the latest projects, DEED has now certified 15 sites as Shovel Ready since the program was launched in Minnesota in 2009.

“Shovel Ready sites have a competitive advantage over other sites that haven’t been designated,” said DEED Commissioner Mark Phillips. “They are a popular tool that city officials can use to attract businesses and new development projects to their communities.”

John Rhodes, a leading national site-location consultant with Moran, Stahl & Boyer of Lakewood Ranch, Fla., has worked with DEED to develop the program in Minnesota.

“Site certification has become a popular approach in many states,” he said, “because it greatly reduces the time required for site development as well as minimizes the risks for the unknown.”