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Potential changes to B3 program discussed

Mike Christopherson
Crookston Times

    During the recent discussion that resulted in the Crookston City Council approving a $50,000 allocation of City funds to CHEDA to put in its B3 (Building Better Business) grant initiative fund, there were suggestions that the program, albeit seen as a success over its first two years, could be tweaked in a couple of ways.

    For one, it was suggested that B3 grants should be focused more on local business initiatives that focus on enhancing their aesthetic appeal or boost their offerings or marketing potential. Grant requests that seek things like a new furnace to replace one that broken down unexpectedly and other things related directly to a business’ daily operation maybe wasn’t part of the B3 program’s initial vision, it was suggested.

    For another, it was suggested that local businesses that don’t have an actual “brick and mortar” building as their location but maybe are more entrepreneurial and instead operate from home and are more mobile in nature, such as contractors like plumbers or electricians, also be given stronger consideration if and when they apply for B3 grants.

    When the council awarded the $50,000 allocation to replenish CHEDA’s B3 budget, CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth suggested that a subcommittee be formed to look into potentially making the suggested tweaks to the program a reality.

    That subcommittee recently held its first meeting at Valley Technology Park. Hoiseth said the CHEDA Board will discuss the committee’s initial suggestions when it next meets Jan. 19.    

    Subcommittee members include Hoiseth, City Administrator Amy Finch, CHEDA Board members Craig Buness, Tom Vedbraaten, Leon Kremeier, council member Dylane Klatt, and former council member Jake Fee, one of the initial crafters of the B3 program.

Members of the subcommittee discussing potential changes to CHEDA’s Building Better Business program are, clockwise from left, Craig Buness, Tom Vedbraaten, Dylane Klatt, Jake Fee, Craig Hoiseth, Amy Finch and Leon Kremeier.