New manufacturing facility to open in Montevideo

Jessica Stölen-Jacobson
Montevideo American-News

The Montevideo Economic Development Association has made some progress on items that have been worked on over the last couple of months meetings, citing a few accomplishments that benefit the community in more ways than one. Recently, the manufacturing company Vishay met with Community Development Coordinator Ben Dolan to tour some available locations in Montevideo. “They have an operation in Marshall and they wanted to tap into the labor pool around here and find opportunities,” says Dolan. The company decided to move into the old MTI Building, which has recently been divided into sections that allowed the new NAPA store to open on one side of it. “That’s filling up fast,” says Dolan. “We’ve been looking to get back some of those jobs we lost when MTI closed. That’s one thing that we feel like we’ve been doing well, trying to get new businesses in town.”  The company specializes in small manufacturing and will employ multiple persons with what Dolan says is fairly competitive benefits and pay for the local area. They are expected to open in November and are currently advertising for positions available through Dougherty Staffing.

Additionally, the EDA recently finalized plans for a Veterans Friendly Community program, which is a revitalization of a previous program that had fallen to the wayside after staffing changes. The program began originally when the work on obtaining a Veterans Home in Montevideo began and was a way to spark local interest in the Veterans Home idea. EDA board president Marc Garbe says the program is focused on raising awareness. “It’s to make more people aware of the Veterans in the community, and their contribution to our Nation, and the recognition of the Veterans that are living in and working in and retired in our community,” he says.  The program operates by businesses purchasing a sticker from the EDA that displays to the public that the business is Veteran friendly. The business must then offer a discount or something of that nature to Veterans. “The only caveat is that we have to charge $20 for the sticker to offset some of the costs of printing and advertising the program,” says Dolan. Garbe gave some examples of what businesses in town that offer discounts for Veterans already do, saying, “It can be five cents off a gallon of gas, some will offer a free cup of coffee, or five percent off labor at the auto shop. It’s up to each business what they want to do.” Dolan says the EDA wanted to revitalize the program with the Veterans Home opening soon. “This is a good thing we can do as a community. Montevideo supports Veterans,” Dolan says.

Progress has been made on the Thunder Hawk Homes apartment complex in Montevideo.

Another program the EDA has been working to revitalize that was put into place this month is the Housing Assistance program that provides downpayment assistance to homebuyers in the city. “Housing has always been an issue. It’s a national issue right now and Montevideo is no different,” says Dolan. “With the Veterans Home bringing in 140 new jobs, there’s going to be people who need to have housing affordability and access. I saw that we had this program that had been sitting dormant for a while and somebody needed to administer it, so I thought this is a good time to get it jumpstarted and hopefully expand it. Right now it’s very much a pilot program.” The program has a fairly simple set of criteria. The maximum loan possible is 20 percent of the home purchase, with a maximum amount of $15,000 per loan. Qualified participants must have a joint or single income of 80 percent or less of the County’s Median income at the time of application, and the home must be purchased within Montevideo City limits. Dolan says those interested in the program can contact him directly at the City Hall. 

Dolan also noted that the Thunder Hawk Homes apartment building that broke ground in spring has been making steady progress, and already has ten units spoken for. It is expected that occupants will start moving into the building in the Spring of 2022. Facade grants offered to businesses throughout town have been wrapping up. Twenty-nine applications were granted funds to make improvements to storefronts including signage, paint, and other similar projects. “It’s been kind of hard to have a strict deadline on that due to material shortages, so we’ve been working with businesses to get that done as soon as possible,” says Dolan. Some of those projects included the new stage construction at Java River, facade improvements at Millennium Theater, Melody Lanes, and the HomeStore. 

Dolan says the EDA has also been working towards solutions for child care struggles in Montevideo. “I held a daycare listening session a couple of weeks ago with daycare providers to get some ideas on how the City could help with that. The biggest takeaway from that is that we have to make the best of what we can as a community and a city with what we have. It could be small infrastructure changes to in-home daycare centers to open up space or connecting the business community with childcare providers so that new employees moving to town have information on daycare openings,” he said. Dolan also recently applied for and was awarded a grant for the City to conduct a childcare study from the Rural Child Care Innovation Program. Rural Childcare Innovation Program uses a community engagement process to conduct a study that helps identify solutions specific to individual communities through the lens of economic development in order to increase the supply of high-quality, affordable child care.  The study will begin in early 2022. “It will tell us where we should be investing our energy and money to address our own specific needs,” Dolan says. 

“I think we’ve done a lot in the last couple of months getting these programs in place and hopefully they can do some good things,” Dolan says. “The EDA has a very forward-thinking mindset and I feel like they’ve done a great job along with MCDc and all of the other boards involved.”