Miller Area Lunch

The second anniversary of the Miller Area Lunch was held on December 15 and it was well attended. We had a good lunch, interesting conversation, and discussed a topic titled “Working Together You Can Build It Yourself.” What is the Miller Area Lunch and why does OHDC host it?

The lunch is an opportunity for all of the boards and organizations in Miller, St. Lawrence, Ree Heights, and Hand County to get together and discuss upcoming projects, goals, and any other topic that has an impact on our area. We meet at a restaurant at 12 p.m., order lunch, and then discuss a topic related to community development.

Topics that we have discussed in the past are wide-ranging but include housing, making our area a good place for young people to live, sustaining our business community, developing our recreational opportunities, and strategic planning for organizations.

Everyone is invited to the Miller Area Lunch. It is important to have members of the various boards in attendance such as the county commission, city council, school board, community foundation, hospital board, OHDC board, C&C board, etc. However, it is just as important to have members of civic groups and interested individuals attend.

One of the more informative features of the lunch is when we go around the room and everyone gives an update on the projects that their organization is involved in. Not only does everyone learn what is going on in town but the information is reliable and straight from the source. Many times people realize that they can collaborate on a project or idea, which can save money and time.

We end the lunch at 1 p.m. so that everyone can get back to his or her workplace or business. That gives us enough time to have a good discussion while not wasting people’s time.

I would encourage you to attend the Miller Area Lunch or have a representative from your organization attend. The meeting is held on the third Wednesday of each month at 12 p.m. Please call OHDC at 853-3098 a couple of days beforehand to RSVP and to find out the location of the meeting.

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Overview of OHDC

Finding help when you’re in business can sometimes be time-consuming and confusing. That’s why On Hand Development Corporation (OHDC) exists. We’re here to assist businesses find resources that can help. OHDC was created in 1987 by a group of local citizens to help keep the Hand County area vital and growing. For over 20 years, we have been “on hand” and working toward that goal.

Our official mission statement is “to maintain and assist in the expansion of existing businesses and support the growth of new businesses while striving to improve the economy of the Miller area.”

We have a number of programs and services that are available to members of the community. These include business financing assistance, site location assistance, start-up support, and business planning assistance. We encourage and help organize youth business education, entrepreneurship programs, community development initiatives, and business education events.

A key program to help our business community is the OHDC revolving loan fund (RLF). This resource can provide financing, in conjunction with owner equity and bank financing, for a new or existing business. Funds can be used to for land, a building, remodeling, new construction, new equipment, or working capital. The RLF was created through a $100,000 Rural Business Enterprise Grant from the USDA Rural Development office.

We collaborate with a number of other organizations to help businesses get the resources they need to be successful. These organizations include the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, Northeast Council of Governments, USDA Rural Development, SD Small Business Development Center, Value Added Agriculture Development Center, and many others.

For assistance, simply contact us by phone at 605-853-3098, by email at joe@millersd.org, or stop in the office at 103 West 3rd Street. We would be happy discuss what we can do to assist your company. Whether you’re just getting started or are already an established business, OHDC is ready to work for you.

SDWEA Annual Meeting

The SD Wind Energy Association (SDWEA) recently held their annual meeting and I had the opportunity to attend. Mitchell Technical Institute (MTI) hosted the meeting at its south campus location. MTI was a good fit for the meeting since they have a Wind Turbine Technology program. Hand County native Clayton Deuter made a brief appearance at the meeting in his capacity as Director of Admission for MTI.

SDWEA supports the development of wind energy as a sustainable, economic, and environmentally friendly resource for all of South Dakota. On Hand Development is a member of SDWEA. We have supported the organization since its inception in January 2009.

A new study entitled Envisioning One Thousand Megawatts of New Capacity and Transmission Assessment was distributed at the meeting. SDWEA commissioned the study and Stuefen Research prepared it. The study outlined the economic impact of adding 1,000 MW of capacity in Deuel and Brookings counties. The bottom line is that this type of project would have $2 billion of economic impact and would add over 5,000 full and part time jobs during construction. It would create 184 permanent full and part time jobs.

While the numbers don’t translate directly to Hand County for various reasons, the study does give us an idea of the scale of this kind of project.  For reference, the Titan I wind farm south of Ree Heights currently produces 25 MW of electricity and employs five people. If you would like a copy of the 1,000 MW study, just stop by the office.

The presenters at the meeting noted that demand for wind-generated electricity is lower than previous years. The slowdown in the economy and the low cost of natural gas are the main causes for the drop in demand. This is a temporary situation and as the economy improves, the demand for electricity will increase.

The folks from South Dakota State University that run the Wind Application Center and the Wind for Schools program gave presentations too. You may have noticed that Miller High School now has a Wind for Schools turbine installed. The electrical components still need to be installed. Once that is completed, the students can use the turbine to study wind energy in our own school.

We will continue to monitor the wind energy industry and to support initiatives and legislation that will lead to wind energy development in our area. Our membership in SDWEA is an important component of supporting the growth of the wind energy in SD.