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City's revolving loan fund is being utilized

Black Swan Cooperage site. (Anna Erickson / Enterprise)

The city of Park Rapids is bringing business to town with its revolving loan fund.

Black Swan Cooperage, LLC, plans to relocate to the Park Rapids industrial park with a $93,000 loan from the city to help bridge a gap in lending.

Black Swan Cooperage, currently in Osage, is a wooden barrel manufacturer. It has a national market, selling to craft distilleries primarily for whiskey production.

The cooperage has applied for financing from Citizens National Bank and the bank requested assistance from the city's revolving loan fund to help the manufacturer. The total project has estimated costs of $400,000.

Tiffany Fettig, from Headwaters Regional Development Commission, presented the loan request to the Park Rapids Economic Development Authority.

The business will bring between seven and 10 employees with potential for future growth. Strengths of the company include management with more than 20 years in the cooperage industry and a strong corporate minority partner in Tuthilltown Spirits, LLC, Fettig said.

"There's the potential for some nice growth," she said. "It's an old craft and a lot of art to it."

The term of the loan is for five years with a 10-year amortization at a 3 percent interest rate.

The Park Rapids EDA also approved a five-year $150,000 loan for Armory Square Management Corporation. This is also out of the revolving loan fund.

The revolving loan fund has about $400,000 in it with revenue coming in monthly from repayment of the loans.

The Park Rapids City Council later approved both requests.

In other business, the council:

n Approved a contract for criminal legal services between the city and County Attorney Don Dearstyne for 2012.

The contract is for $3,483.33 per month, an increase of about 10 percent.

Dearstyne explained that the number of cases has increased by about 100 cases from two years ago.

n Approved the final property tax levy for 2012 at a slight decrease from what was proposed at the Truth in Taxation hearing.

A decrease of $74,000 was approved from the proposed amount. The 2012 tax levy is $2,083,073, a 1.42 percent decrease from the proposed levy.

n Authorized preparation of a preliminary engineering report for the extension of watermain and sanitary sewer for the Green Acres addition (Discovery Circle).

City engineer Jon Olson said the area is scheduled for annexation Jan. 1, 2012 and this project has been identified on the city's Capital Improvement Plan.

Several properties in this area have experienced problems with failing wells and water quality has become an issue, Olson said.

n Decided to cancel the second council meeting in December due to busy holiday schedules. City administrator Bill Smith said all necessary city business for 2011 has been acted on.

Anna Erickson
Anna Erickson is editor of the Wadena Pioneer Journal.
(218) 631-2561