The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development has announced $1.69 million in infrastructure grants for projects in Greater Minnesota.

The funding awarded from DEED's Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program was approved for the cities of Wadena, North Branch and Spring Valley. The three projects were all funded during the first quarter of 2019 and are expected to create more than 2,800 full-time jobs.

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Wadena was awarded $688,945 to install water, sewer, storm sewer, and streets for a new business park. The park will provide 15 new industrial lots. The existing business park is full and a number of businesses will need to relocate due to a highway project. It is estimated that 30 jobs will be created in the park.

"Investments in public infrastructure are critical to the economic success of Greater Minnesota communities," said Governor Tim Walz. "These grants will help spur that economic development in North Branch, Spring Valley, and Wadena."

North Branch was awarded $400,575 to assist with the extension of a large trunk water main that will loop water service for a 252 acre industrial park. The park is mostly vacant due to inadequate water service. The city estimates over time the park, located adjacent to Interstate 35, could generate up to 2,800 jobs.

Spring Valley was awarded $608,966 to add water, sewer, and streets necessary to enlarge their business park. AMD Distribution will complete a $1.2 million expansion that will retain 29 employees and add eight new jobs. Kapper's Fabricating will complete a $950,000 expansion that will retain 37 employees and add 20 jobs. The project will also add five additional lots for other businesses.

"By utilizing these BDPI grants, cities around the state are improving their local economies," said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove. "These infrastructure projects signal that Greater Minnesota is open for business, and these communities are eager to welcome new opportunities."

The BDPI grant program supports counties outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Under the program, DEED awards 50 percent of eligible capital costs for the qualifying public infrastructure projects. These projects include wastewater collection and treatment, drinking water, storm sewers, and more.