County OKs plan to help businesses

BLUE EARTH – Faribault County commissioners have approved a grant to help business owners repair their buildings.

Linsey Warmka, director of Faribault County Development Corporation, spoke to the board Tuesday about obtaining a Rural Business Enterprise Grant for $90,000 and a match of $110,000, for a total of $200,000.

The authority will put up the $110,000, then recover the money from the participating cities.

Blue Earth Economic Development is committed, Warmka noted.

The authority made surveys available and received 56 back from business owners interested in the program. Blue Earth had 21; other communities responding were Easton, Elmore, Huntley, Kiester, Minnesota Lake, Wells and Winnebago.

There is a two-year time span to use the grant, Warmka said. The money could be used by business owners to repair their buildings.

“It was the intention that the program would help businesses located in Faribault County to increase sales, property values and improve their business climate within the county,” Warmka said.

“I like the idea of assisting the businesses that are here,” said Commissioner Greg Young.

Turning to another matter, the board approved a conditional use permit for Eugene Stallkamp to operate a pet crematorium in Foster Township.

Michele Stindtman of Soil and Water said the Planning Commission met March 10 and was recommending approval for the crematorium.

“We’ve never had this use before,” Stindtman said, noting that her office did a lot of research. “The ash is treated as a solid waste; that’s why the solid waste rules apply.”

She read the rules the Planning Commission set up, including how the ashes must be disposed, and that there will be no signage designating the building as a crematorium.

Stallkamp said he does not want a sign anyway since he will be working mainly through the local veterinarians and the facility is only for household pets, not livestock.