EDA has projects in the works

By Patrick Fisher, Staff Writer

The New Prague City Council recently accepted approximately $42,215 that will be used to aid business development in the community.

The donation was received from the former New Prague Opportunities and will go toward the city's Economic Development Authority (EDA). New Prague Opportunities was founded in the 1960s and it was through its efforts that led to the establishment of the EDA. The group also revitalized the New Prague Chamber of Commerce and helped start the community's annual Dozinky celebration. New Prague Opportunities was dissolved this past year and its remaining funds will help the EDA create and bring in new business to the city.

Currently the EDA is considering what it can do to help area businesses. New Prague City Administrator Mike Johnson is the director of the organization. He took over from Jim Morris, who stepped down at the end of 2009. Aiding Johnson with the EDA is New Prague City Planner Renee Christianson.

She explained the EDA is looking at the feasibility of doing a second phase of the city's business park. The site would be located north of Sixth Street NW.

In 1990, the city purchased 40 acres of land formerly owned by 21st Century Genetics on the community's northwest side. Over the last 15 years, pieces of the property have been sold to businesses. Funds from the sales were used by the EDA to help with projects, including the construction of Sixth Street NW on the north side of the business park.

Christianson noted the New Prague City Council has put the next phase of the industrial park as a high priority. Among the issues being looked at for the park are the need for streets and such utilities as water and sewer in the area.

The engineering firms Bolton & Menk, Inc., and Short Elliott and Hendrickson (S.E.H.) Inc., have been asked for quotes on a feasibility report for the site. The quotes were scheduled to be turned in on Wednesday, June 2.

The EDA also recently received a state grant to assist local businesses with loans for improvements or expansions. The city is working on a policy to implement the loan program.

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