Isanti celebrates second business recruitment award

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer announced the city of Isanti has won its second business recruitment award given through the Economic Development Association of Minnesota.

During the Feb. 2 City Council meeting, Wimmer explained the city won the award for its recruitment of SnoBear USA to the city from North Dakota. The city won its first business recruitment award in 2008 for Ever Cat Fuels.

Isanti Mayor George Wimmer (right) and Economic Development Director Sean Sullivan celebrate the city’s second business recruitment award given through the Economic Development Association of Minnesota for the recruitment of SnoBear USA to the city from North Dakota. Photo by Rachel Kytonen
Isanti Mayor George Wimmer (right) and Economic Development Director Sean Sullivan celebrate the city’s second business recruitment award given through the Economic Development Association of Minnesota for the recruitment of SnoBear USA to the city from North Dakota. Photo by Rachel Kytonen

The Economic Development Association of Minnesota is a statewide association of professionals specializing in the field of economic development. The business recruitment award recognizes an organization’s or individual’s effort on a project that resulted in the attraction or recruitment of a new business to a community from outside of the state of Minnesota.

The SnoBear initiative included the purchase of a 42,000-square-foot building in Isanti’s growing industrial park, as well as construction of a new 12,000-square-foot building on adjacent real estate. SnoBear is known for its recreational ice fishing vehicles.

“A lot goes into this, and as we talked at goal setting a little bit and previously, it’s great to win the award and it’s fantastic for our community,” Wimmer said. “It’s a nice thing to have for all the hard work and the many hours that went into it, but it’s the company itself which is really the award we won. The company has already added 25 new jobs to our city. They are continuing to expand. They have some plans they have talked with us about for some future endeavors they are looking at on their property.”

Wimmer mentioned other businesses in the city are benefiting by SnoBear’s relocation.

“It is really going well with SnoBear,” Wimmer said. “They are contracting with a lot of our local businesses as well. That is really a great spin-off of it that we were expecting. A lot of our businesses do work very well together and help grow the overall commercial tax base for us in that way in providing good jobs.”

Wimmer praised the efforts of Economic Development Director Sean Sullivan for his work on the SnoBear project.

“He did a fantastic job with this project,” Wimmer said. “One of the many great things with Sean is his technical expertise. This project, as with our Ever Cat project, needed a lot of hand-holding. This one needed even more hand-holding, I would say. We had a lot of unique things with this particular project in the way it developed. And then also his expertise in knowing the financial tools and being able to work with a lot of people in different organizations and different levels of government to bring those resources to Isanti.”

Wimmer mentioned the city brought in $600,000 in state funds to the project, and the city spent $37,000 in special tax increment financing funds that could only be used on project like the SnoBear project.

Wimmer appreciates the efforts of Sullivan.

“This is the second go-around for the city with such a major project like this and we have so many other great projects in the hopper,” Wimmer said. “With Sean, I sleep really well at night when it comes to economic development. He is really on top of everything and draws it together. We are very lucky to have him in our community and we certainly want to make sure that we keep him. And I think all of us on the council are aware of that. Without him, I’m not sure we would have gotten this award. We have a really good tradition of our commitment to excellence with economic development, and economic development will always be there, but he sure makes it a lot easier and he makes it look easy. He’s done so much work with it.”

Development of parkland

The City Council took action on items relating to the development of 38 acres of parkland in Rum River Meadows.

According to a staff report by Katie Everett, community events and park coordinator, the city of Isanti acquired at no cost 38 acres from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and received permission to develop a park on the parcel. Development plans include a community garden and trails to the Rum River with fishing access.

The council approved a resolution to approve the new park name as River Bluff Preserve. The council also approved a resolution to accept the bid of $11,254 from Performance Dock and Lift for the roll-in dock system and a resolution to accept the bid of $8,875 from Century Fence for the community garden fence.