Just shortly after an official groundbreaking ceremony at the new North Industrial Park in Blue Earth, dirt-moving equipment began construction in earnest. "We don't really have time to waste," says Linsey Warmka, the executive director of the Faribault County Development Corporation. "We already have a business that wants to begin construction here this year." That business is Kibble Equipment. Their representative at the groundbreaking ceremony, David Goebel, says his company plans to begin construction on its new 10,000 plus square foot building by Aug. 15"Our goal is to have enough of the outside work done this fall that we can work on the interior over winter," Goebel says. "Then we will open next spring." Kibble Equipment recently completed the purchase of the first four lots in the new industrial park, at a cost of $197,000.
"We have 60 acres that are 'shovel ready,'" says Warmka, meaning they are ready for businesses to build on after the construction is completed. "Forty of those acres are owned by the city and 20 are privately owned by Bob and Dick Manske."
The city of Blue Earth recently received a nearly $1 million grant from the federal economic development authority. That funding will be used for the infrastructure work which began last week. Crews were busy moving dirt from the higher areas of the property to the lower areas this week. After that, utilities such as sewer and water will be installed, as well as streets, curbs and gutters.
At Monday morning's groundbreaking, 23 shovels were ready for all the dignitaries who were on hand for the ceremony. After remarks by Warmka, Goebel, Blue Earth mayor Rick Scholtes and several state and federal legislators, each person grabbed a shovel and scooped some dirt for a photo opportunity for the media. "This is what working together looks like," U.S. Rep. Tim Walz said. "Southern Minnesota is working thanks to community and business leaders like all of you here today. We can do incredible things when we build the public-private partnerships and work together." Warmka thanked Walz for his assistance in solving an issue the city had with the Army Corps of Engineers. "That effort allowed the city to get a permit from the Army Corps of Engineers within weeks, rather than months," Warmka said. "And allowed the city to move forward in a timely manner."
Also speaking at the ceremony was state Rep. Bob Gunther, state Sen. Julie Rosen and Bruce Barnum, a representative of U.S. Sen. Al Franken's office. Rosen said this is the first time a project of this magnitude has been started in her district in many years. "This is exciting for the community of Blue Earth, as well as the entire area of southern Minnesota," she said. After the groundbreaking ceremony, which was held at the actual site of the new North Industrial Park north of I-90, there was an open house reception held at the Public Safety Building in Blue Earth.