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St. Louis County Board approves tax abatement for L&M Radiator expansion

L&M Radiator's ongoing expansion would get a $350,000 tax abatement under a plan approved Tuesday by the St. Louis County Board.

The abatement allows some of the money the company would have paid in property taxes on the expansion to instead go toward the project in Hibbing.

L&M is undertaking an $18.3 million expansion and adding 55 employees as it builds a new 100,000-square-foot manufacturing and office complex that will wrap around the existing 27,000-square-foot office and manufacturing building.

The project includes $17.46 million in private investment from the company, a $250,000 grant from the Hibbing Economic Development Authority, a $170,000 grant from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development, a $350,000 grant from the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, and the county tax break that allows for some of the project's future property taxes to be used for the development.

L&M Radiator Inc. was founded in 1957 and has developed into one of the leading suppliers of heating and cooling systems for large heavy equipment, especially giant haul trucks used to move mined material such as the taconite iron ore on the Iron Range. L&M is located just off U.S. Highway 169 and has facilities in Mexico, Chile and Australia.

In other action Tuesday, the board approved handing out $727,750 of state money for seven projects that will prevent the introduction or limit the spread of aquatic invasive species in St. Louis County:

• $391,350 to the North St. Louis Soil and Water Conservation District to manage watercraft inspections, decontamination and public education on Burntside, Shagawa, Pelican, Ely and Vermilion lakes.

• $114,000 to Wildlife Forever for public education through multimedia marketing, as well as a waterfront boat and trailer cleaning station.

• $59,000 to the Vermilion Lake Association for watercraft inspection and cleaning; public education; early detection, rapid response and population management.

• $50,000 to the Izaak Walton League of America for a contingency water ballast water treatment system for the Lake Superior harbor.

• $26,000 to the Burntside Lake Association to expand training of boat inspectors, promote use of boat cleaning stations, public education and build early detection capabilities.

• $22,500 to Canosia Township for inspections and public education to users of Pike Lake and Caribou Lake.

• $14,900 to Grand Lake Township for inspections on Caribou Lake.

The state money is awarded to counties based on how many boat landings and trailer parking spaces each county has. Of Minnesota's 87 counties, St. Louis County has the second-highest number of landings, 166, and the most trailer parking spaces, 1,173.

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