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ST. ANTHONY — Thanks to the purchase of two St. Anthony Industrial Park parcels the city will pay off a $250,000 Development Company loan used to develop the park. The organization is also known as the East Idaho Planning and Development Association.

The association provided St. Anthony with the interest-free loan about 10 years ago to create the park. The city used the funds to install an infrastructure that ensured readily available utilities for any businesses wanting to build there.

The money paid to The Development Company goes into a $500,000 “revolving loan” that’s used to help other business and industry develop in the Upper Valley.

“It’s a significant loan tool,” said Real Estate agent Judy Hobbs ,who helped the city sell the two pieces of property.

A nonprofit organization, The Development Company serves as an economic development agency, reported the company’s senior loan officer Ken Poulson.

“We partner with local banks and help banks do loans that they normally wouldn’t do. The bank component is $20 to $30 million a year for small business that wouldn’t otherwise be done without the assistance of the programs we administer,” he said.

The organization also provides what Poulson refers to as “business incubators.”

“We give businesses a subsidized low-cost rent so they can get out of their garages and basements and have a professional office space,” he said.

Poulson noted that the organization also helped create business parks in both Sugar City and Rexburg. The expectation is that helping these businesses develop will bring more tax revenue and jobs into the counties.

While The Development Company helps provide funding for various parks, it does take time to get those parks up and running, Poulson said.

“Those take 20 years to develop. It’s a slow process. Rexburg’s is just finishing its development right now,” he said.

The company also provides small business loans.

“We generally do $10 million to $15 million in small business loans in eastern Idaho a year,” Poulson said.

The organization’s website describes a small business as one having less than 500 employees, a net worth of $15 million or less and a net profit of $5 million or less.

Those small businesses eligible for such loans include ones acquiring a current business and business owners starting their own new company or wanting to renovate an existing business.

“The objective of the SBA 504 loan program is to achieve community economic development through job creation and/or retention or other economic development impacts by providing long-term fixed asset financing to small business concerns,” according to the organization’s website.

The website also states that the terms for SBA loans involve financing 40 percent of a project up to $5 million. The organization requires small businesses to add an additional 10 percent into a project, with a private lender providing 50 percent of the costs.

To help businesses get started or to help them expand, the Development Company does a lot of consulting and counseling, Poulson said.

“If they need financing of some type, we’ll access that and see if it’s financing we can assist with. If it’s not ready for financing, we help them tweak their business plan and give them some steps to do to get ready for financing,” he said.

The whole point of the assistance is to help create more employment and sources of income in the region, Poulson said.

“Everything we do traces back to job creation and better job opportunities in Eastern Idaho,” he said. “When we help a business build, we create a job and also create some new property taxes for the county. It further helps the communities develop and supports business growth.”

Poulson says numerous new businesses have received help from the organization. He noted that the Development Company helped Rexburg’s Gravity Factory and Fresco Kitchen and Grill set up shop recently.

Poulson says the organization’s mission is about community development.

“We’re not working for a profit. Obviously we have to support ourselves through revenue, but really our focus is job and economic development. Our charter is all about growing East Idaho’s economy,” he said.

St. Anthony’s Industrial Park has lots available varying in size from one acre to three and a half acres. Selling prices range from $40,000 to $114,000. In exchange for a company developing on the property within a year, the city offers a 25 percent rebate on the land price.

“That’s a good, positive thing. To build a business (here) makes it attractive,” said St. Anthony City Clerk Patty Parkinson.

The idea behind that incentive is to bring economic life and activity to St. Anthony. The council doesn’t want to see lots be purchased and then sit there for years, it said.

The new owners of Glenwood Smoked Products also recently purchased an adjoining lot at the Industrial Park. At about the same time, a yet-to-be-named company purchased another lot.

The sudden purchase of the lots came as a bit of a shock to Hobbs and the City Council, but they all agreed that no one is complaining.

“Maybe the economy is finally picking up,” Parkinson said.

An added incentive is that some of the industrial park’s properties are adjacent to the city’s airport.

“If people wanted to, they’d have access to the airport from those lots,” she said.

The Development Company’s work with cities and private business is a win-win situation for everyone involved, Poulson said.

“We’ve been very active. We do reach out and touch a lot of business with our relationship with other organizations. That’s how we help business,” he said.

For more information on the organization visit www.thedevco.net/lending or call 208-356-4524.