The Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board approved a $600,000 loan for a Hibbing-based aircraft refurbishing company at their meeting in Eveleth on Thursday.

Midwest Aircraft Refinishing, or MAR, specializes in repainting and refurbishing single-engine composite airplanes, namely planes built by Duluth-based Cirrus. The company, based at the Chisholm-Hibbing Airport, said the loan would go toward installing a paint booth and create 6-10 new jobs on top of the existing 10 full-time positions.

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MAR Chief Financial Officer George Virnig told the IRRRB that the company's backlog now sits at 13 months, and this would help them catch up with demand.

"We're losing some of the market to the fact that we can't capture all of it," Virnig said, adding that they're dealing with a backlog of 13 months.

Prior to the IRRRB's vote, advisory board member and state Rep. Jason Metsa of Virginia said he likes to see the prospect of outside money coming into the area through MAR.

At Thursday's meeting, the IRRRB also awarded 10 grants totalling nearly $1.6 million to Iron Range communities for infrastructure projects.

Three separate $250,000 grants went to the city of Biwabik to fix underground utilities, roads and alleys; the city of Coleraine for the installation of a larger water main pipe; and the city of

Eveleth for a water tower reconditioning project.

The city of Nashwauk also received $220,000 for the replacement of 300 feet of aging sewer line.

Aitkin County received $150,000 to expand broadband access to up to 738 households.

The City of McKinley, City of Chisholm, City of Tower, Goodland Township, and the Cook County/Grand Marais Economic Development Authority also received grants.