The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board is expected to approve a $1.94 million loan Friday to the city of Biwabik and Laurentian Monument, Granite & Stone so the countertop and monument company can expand and add 15 jobs.
IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich is asking the board to approve the loan as part of the company’s proposed $2.84 million expansion project.
The company produces granite countertops and monuments and is expanding into other areas of natural stone use, such as structural, architectural, decorative and landscaping. The company has experienced high demand for its unique stones, which are found on former Iron Range mining sites. Funding will be used to construct a new industrial building and purchase a site that will provide stone inventory.
The original Monument business dates back to 1912, engraving monuments and cemetery markers and providing other services. Laurentian Countertops has been in production since 2002. The company added a new plant in 2006 and a natural stone division in 2011.
The IRRRB is expected to approve taconite tax rebates for ArcelorMittal-Minorca, Magnetation, Mesabi Nugget, Northshore Mining and United Taconite as part of an ongoing effort to encourage reinvestment into the companies’ operations on the Iron Range. The companies get part of their production tax back if they match it in upgrading the plants.
The board also is expected to approve more than $6.6 million in infrastructure grants to local governments for 33 local construction projects.
“By investing in these projects, we are helping provide our local construction workers with well-paying jobs, while upgrading outdated infrastructure and supporting business development,” Sertich said in a statement announcing the grant proposal.
Sertich noted that IRRRB dollars, stocked with a tax on taconite produced by mining companies, is used in lieu of property taxes on homes and other businesses. State law requires half of the agency’s economic development fund to be invested in infrastructure projects in local communities.
The projects include: City of Aitkin: Business expansion and construction of new 17,000-square-foot facility; $300,000 City of Aurora: Infrastructure and site work for construction of 32-unit assisted-living facility; $350,000 City of Babbitt: Phase II — 20-unit hotel development; $150,000 Balsam Township: Construction of new emergency services facility; $200,000 City of Bigfork: Water system well improvements; $50,000 City of Biwabik: Phase II Infrastructure and upgrades on Second Street North; $150,000 Bois Forte Band of Chippewa: Infrastructure for new 10-unit housing development; $100,000 Breitung Township: Replacement of old sanitary sewer lines on Main Street and Fifth Avenue; $115,000 City of Buhl: Water/sewer replacement on Frantz Street South; $190,000 Cities of Calumet and Marble and Greenway Township: Construction of new emergency services facility; $350,000 City of Chisholm: Water/sewer replacement on Third Avenue Northeast; $225,000 City of Cohasset: Utility extension for new development site; $31,000 Cities of Coleraine and Bovey: Construction of new emergency services facility; $450,000 City of Deerwood: Water main improvements to the Cross Drive area; $175,000 City of Ely: Water/sewer upgrades on First Avenue East and Conan/White Street alley; $150,000 City of Eveleth: Infrastructure and site work for construction of 20-unit assisted-living facility; $350,000 Fayal Township: Replacement of culvert on Pleasant Drive; $35,000 City of Gilbert: Water/sewer replacement between Minnesota and Michigan avenues; 175,000 City of Grand Rapids: Infrastructure for new health care services clinic; 400,000 City of Hibbing: Phase II Infrastructure along Hwy 169 W for retail development; 600,000 City of Hoyt Lakes: Storm water collection system replacement and lift-station upgrade; $150,000 City of Keewatin: New waterline from Second Avenue East to Third Avenue East; $70,000 City of Keewatin: Upgrades to electric substation; $200,000 City of Kinney: Upgrades to water reservoir tank; $25,000 City of LaPrairie: Municipal sewer extension and road reconstruction; $150,000 City of Nashwauk: Water/sewer upgrades on Fourth Street from Central to Pearson and Platt; $175,000 City of Silver Bay: Replacement of high-pressure water main under Highway 61; $150,000 City of Taconite: Sanitary system improvements on Stephens Street South; $90,000 Tofte Township: Infrastructure and site work for construction of 10-unit senior housing facility; $230,000 City of Two Harbors: Infrastructure for new 3,200-square-foot retail/manufacturing facility; $276,500 City of Virginia: New infrastructure and site work for the expansion of an existing business; $250,000 White Township: Phase III Water/sewer replacement to Gardendale addition; $150,000
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