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Paynesville Press - November 26, 2003

PayDelCo looking for new members

By Michael Jacobson

People with an interest in economic development in Paynesville are being sought as new members for PayDelCo.

A nonprofit corporation formed in the 1970s, when the Industrial Park was built in town, PayDelCo is currently being run by an interim board of directors, a remnant from PayDelCo's parent, Paynesville Development Corporation, a for-profit corporation established in 1959 and disbanded in 2003.

Eighteen local business owners and civic leaders met last week with the interim board to discuss the history of PayDelCo, the current situation, and future economic development needs in Paynesville.

In 1959, the Paynesville Develop-ment Corporation was formed with local people paying $50 for shares, raising $34,500. This money was used to build what is now the vocational building at Paynesville Area High School. This building was originally used by a missile manufacturer and then by Wonderalls, a manufacturer of children's clothes.

When Wonderalls needed more space, the Industrial Park was developed in the 1970s, with 87 acres being used for nearly 50 lots. The Industrial Park now has 21 businesses that employ 223 workers. These businesses pay $156,000 in property taxes each year, including $55,000 to the city.

In order to receive grants for the Industrial Park, PayDelco, a nonprofit corporation, was formed in the 1970s. PayDelCo had the same board as Paynesville Development Corporation, whose board was elected by shareholders.

Now, with the Paynesville Development Corporation being disbanded, PayDelCo needs a membership base, said Joe Voss, who has served as president of both entities since 1975. PayDelCo was kept, explained Voss, because as a nonprofit corporation it is eligible for grants, which could help fund a future development project.

Within the last year, three lots have been sold in the Industrial Park, and there is a pending sale on a fourth lot. This leaves three undeveloped lots owned by PayDelCo. (Some individual businesses also own extra lots for future expansion. PayDelCo has roughly $200,000 in cash and $285,000 in total assets.

While the community has many tools for development - including EDAP - a role remains for PayDelCo, said Voss. As a nonprofit corporation, PayDelCo has fewer restrictions for buying and selling land than EDAP or the city.

To establish a new membership for PayDelCo, the interim board - Voss, Ron Frauenshuh, Al Habben, Mel Jones, and Mark Malingen - has set a one-time membership fee of $100 for individuals or businesses interested in economic development. A volunteer membership committee - Nathan Bork, Mike Jacobson, and Wayne Nelson - will be contacting potential PayDelCo members.

A meeting of new members to elect a new board of directors for PayDelCo has been set for Monday, Dec. 15, at 7:30 p.m. at city hall.

Once a new membership and a new board are established, PayDelCo can start to examine options for future development projects and start to look for grants to help fund these efforts.

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