IVANHOE - The Lincoln County Board voted to spend $79,000 of county funds at the request of Vince Robinson, director of the Lincoln County Economic Development Corporation, to fill gaps in funding a project to clean up and renovate the old Hendricks creamery building and convert it into a microbrewery at its meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Jason Markkula, owner of Bank Brewing Company, accompanied Robinson to the meeting.
Robinson said the creamery project had received a small business development grant from the state for $40,000 and $71,000 in local equity funding raised by selling shares at $4,000 each.
Markkula has invested $40,000 of his own money to bring the total to $111,000, according to Robinson.
Bank Brewing brands such as Walleye Chop and Rooster Lager are currently brewed in Cold Spring and at the Brau Brothers brewery in Lucan.
"This project is viewed by the community as essential to the appearance of downtown Hendricks and an elimination of a severe blight," Robinson said. "We anticipate four jobs to begin within the first few years. We're confident in the success of the beer line. Sales have increased every year and they've added a new product every year for the past four years."
According to Robinson, additional business would come to town via brewery tourism, and that Markkula's commitment to investing in Hendricks has been shown by his purchase of the old bank building on Main Street, which he converted into a hunting lodge.
"If this project doesn't go through, this building will probably wind up on our doorstep anyways," Commissioner Adam Gillund said.
Gillund said he thought if the building reverted to the county, asbestos cleanup and demolition would probably cost the county around $100,000.
"We're here asking for the last step to make it happen," Markkula said.
Gillund made a motion to give the project up to $54,000 in 2012 and $25,000 in 2013, which passed with Commissioner Don Evers dissenting.
The board also voted to approve Robinson's request to approve the expenditure of $12,000 in matching funds for a trail grant for Hole in the Mountain Park near Lake Benton. The $75,000 trail grant award from the state Department of Natural Resources was contingent on a 25 percent local match, which came from Lincoln County and an additional $12,000 from the Lake Benton Area Foundation.
The board approved Lincoln County Sheriff Jack Vizecky's request to buy seven state-of-the-art Tasers at a cost of $7,800 including a $250 credit each for the county's five Tasers. Vizecky told the board that at the rate of technological progress, he doubted the $250 trade-in value would hold beyond June 1. At present, only deputies on patrol have Tasers, and there are none at the jail.
Vizecky demonstrated a new model Taser, which has two electric darts rather than the one the models used by the county have and laser sights and cited their value as a warning.
"There have been Tasers in the county for 15 years and they've only been used twice," Vizecky said. "The county has had them since 2009 and never used them."
The board passed a motion to spend $69,000 on Motorola radios for the ARMER emergency radio system. The purchase consists of four handheld units, 27 mobile units for the highway department, and one mobile for the sheriff. A grant from the Regional Radio Board will cover $40,000 of the expense.