JKEDC Conducts Annual Meeting; Discusses Housing Crisis

The Jackson-Kadoka Economic Development Corporation (JKEDC) conducted its annual meeting on Jan. 6 at the Kadoka Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD). The JKEDC normally conducts their monthly meetings in the community room at Gateway Apartments. Due to the Coronavirus disease-2019 and restrictions imposed on public use of the community room, the JKEDC temporarily conducts monthly meetings at the KVFD. Board members attending the meeting included Jo Beth Eisenbraun, Donna Enders, Bryan Hundertmark, Rusty Olney and Eileen Stolley. Ryan Willert, a member of the Kadoka City Council who serves as a JKEDC liaison, and Jamie Hermann, a JKEDC board member, were unable to attend the meeting.
The meeting was called to order and the Board members reviewed then approved the meeting minutes for December 2020 and the agenda for the 2020 annual meeting. Eisenbraun, JKEDC executive director, presented financial reports for the operational and revolving loan accounts as of Dec. 31, 2020. The JKEDC received a Rural Business Development Grant in 2012 and, subsequently, developed the revolving loan program. The revolving loan account was made possible from monies received by the U.S. Department of Agriculture through appropriations funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Eisenbraun reported timely payments on the three remaining business loans. The revolving loan funds currently available to qualified borrowers totals approximately $52,899. These loans serve to assist with the startup of a new business or provide additional opportunities for existing ones. Loan applications are reviewed and subjected to approval by an independent loan board of volunteers. The JKEDC website at www.growkadoka.com provides information on properties for sale in the area, a means of which to initiate contact the JKEDC and how to obtain further information on the application process for a loan.
Olney, JKEDC director, reported he and Willert reviewed the accounting for the past year and reconciled the operational and revolving loan accounts from Jan. 1 through Dec. 31, 2020. Olney commented, “everything looks good” for the operational account and noted, “we [JKEDC] need to send bills to the property owners for demolishing structures on their property.”
The JKEDC uses the operational account for normal business expenses and they also utilize it for vendor payments in conjunction with a Joint Powers Agreement adopted by the City and JKEDC in December 2018. The Agreement opens the way for site ready building lots and improves upon the curb appeal in Kadoka. The Agreement offers two options to property owners where they either to relinquish the parcel or retain the property.
If a property owner chooses to relinquish the parcel, they convey the property to the JKEDC. The City removes uninhabitable structures, transferring the rubble off site and preparing the lot for new construction. Upon the sale of the property, the JKEDC remits payment to the city for the razing of structures and backfilling the property, paving the way for a new structure. The JKEDC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation so the sale price of the property equals the expenses to prepare the property for new development. If a property owner decides to retain the property, the cost of the removal is based upon the square footage of the structures set for demolition. The removal costs may vary, depending upon the complexity of the structure and amount of material needed to backfill and level the site. Either option improves upon the curb appeal of Kadoka, providing a building lot ready for development.
Officers presented their reports to the Board and Stolley asked about responses received regarding an advertisement for a local business. In the December 2020 meeting, Olney suggested the JKEDC place a state-wide advertisement for the sale of Fromm’s Hardware and Plumbing. The property is a multi-generational, brick-and-mortar staple occupying Main Street in Kadoka for at least seven decades. The store closed last year and at the December meeting, the Board moved to place an advertisement for three weeks for the building along with its current inventory. The South Dakota classified network places information regarding the property into approximately 140 newspaper publications throughout the state. Eisenbraun informed the Board that she found a free online advertising site for the hardware store. Olney reported a response to the classified advertisement from a prospective buyer in Watertown who plans to retire into a mom-and-pop establishment such as the hardware store or a hotel. In addition to coordinating advertisement for the building and inventory, the JKEDC also plans to offer the prospective buyer the opportunity to secure a loan through the revolving loan, if needed, to assist with the transaction.
Johnson suggested the Board make inquires for renting signage for local business advertisement on Interstate-90, noting approximately 20-25 signs near the two exits for Kadoka primarily advertise for businesses in Rapid City. Enders noted the costs, “wouldn’t be so bad” if some businesses got together to share the costs. She also commented on regional travel guides, which provided advertisements in the past. Stolley noted, “no one picks up travel magazines anymore,” as most tourists utilizes mobile applications for travel information.
Eisenbraun provided the JKEDC executive report to the Board. She informed the Board there are few properties available in Kadoka. Olney commented, “we need a mobile home park in the community.” Eisenbraun noted one parcel with structures to raze, along with two other properties currently for sale, a home and apartment complex. She visited with one property owner who plans to refurbish two properties then offer them for sale and offered to list those properties on the JKEDC website www.growkadoka.com. She also noted a demand for rental properties in town for families with children attending the Kadoka Area School.  
In closing, Olney commented on the population of Kadoka as noted on the city limits signs at 654 and predicted a decline in that number upon completion of the 2020 census. Opportunities for employment are here but lack of housing presents the primary issues. Olney stated, “if you ask, there are jobs.”

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