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2019 Estherville Chamber Banquet Getting better all the time

Chamber director states at annual banquet Estherville is forward-thinking community

October 6, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

By Amy H. Peterson

Staff writer

The Estherville Area Chamber of Commerce held its annual banquet Tuesday evening at the Estherville Golf Course.

Article Photos

Chamber director Lexie Ruter teed off the night's event stating, "This is a forward-thinking community that's constantly getting better."

Ruter distributed the 2019 Chamber awards. Brianna Mabra of Central Perk Coffeehouse was named Entrepreneur of the Year. Jacobson Westergard was named Business of the Year, and Laurel Hash was named Citizen of the Year.

Lyle Hevern discussed a variety of projects that fit the concept, "It seems impossible until it's done." One of these was the Excel building on South Sixth Street, completed a couple of years ago.

"People said it was too much of an undertaking; now that building generates 32 paychecks," Hevern said.

One of these seemingly impossible projects is the federal government Department of Defense project Jeff Robinson has coordinated over the past year and a half. Hevern said U.S. Senators Grassley and Ernst pushed the leases for the land and building through federal bureaucracy in time for the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.

Robinson was not in attendance at the banquet, but reached by phone, he said a group he has put together to be the landlord to the federal government on the tech manufacturing projects set to launch across the U.S. will go through a bidding process with the project awarded Oct. 15 and contracts beginning by the end of 2019.

Robinson said the project has identified a building contractor who specializes in buildings around the world built for three-letter agencies, including the DoD. The federal project includes a 75,000 square foot building to house a tech manufacturing facility for the Dept. of Defense that is set to create around 50 jobs that will pay an average of $60,000 per year.

Other new initiatives in Estherville include Firehouse Mobile Lube, LLC, with Mike Roehler making use of Estherville Area Growth Partnership's revolving loan. The company is in its startup phase, awaiting equipment that will allow Roehler to come out to a customer's home or workplace and do basic maintenance like changing oil and filters.

Another new venture from the revolving loan fund is Jason Moser's truck service and maintenance shop, newly opened next to the Emmet County Annex building, Hevern said.

Other developments include Redwood Farms' expansions of their distribution and processing facilities as well as their office; Kwik Star scheduled to open Oct. 11; the new Avera Holy Family emergency department; the Iowa Lakes Community College Fine Arts center opening by the end of 2019; new ownership of the bowling alley; the splash pad at the Regional Wellness Center; the $4.1 million bond initiative passed two-to-one for the new municipal swimming pool, and the Gold Star Families Memorial dedicated in June.

Hevern said the spec house was completed in 2019 but is not yet sold. There are open houses coming up for it. The 700 Central Avenue building is undergoing renovations that will create two new offices and two new apartments on the second floor.

Bob Jensen, chair of Excel Estherville, said, "We have a driven community here," and listed a few other new developments including the dog park, 44 businesses that have redone their facades with Excel grants in the last four years, and a Central Avenue Bridge rehabilitation in the works.

Hash, the citizen of the year, said, "I'm proud to be part of this community."

Jason Bendixen, on behalf of Jacobson Westergard, said, "I want to thank the businesses and individuals who donate their money and time in the city of Estherville."

Bendixen also thanked Ruter and Susan Pytleski of the Chamber. "Our Chamber will do anything for you guys."



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