DEED Tells Communities to be ‘Shovel Ready’

Friday, May 8th, 2009 at 6:41 am

ST. PAUL – The Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) encourages Minnesota communities to apply for the state’s new Shovel Ready Site Certification Program to facilitate the attraction of new business and industry.

“The Minnesota Shovel Ready Site Certification Program makes the site-selection process easier, faster and more predictable for companies that are looking to grow in Minnesota,” said DEED Commissioner Dan McElroy. “Businesses consider multiple properties in different states when determining where to locate, and shovel-ready sites give communities a competitive advantage in the selection process.”

The term “shovel ready” refers to commercial and industrial sites that have had all of the planning, zoning, surveys, title work, environmental studies, soils analysis and public infrastructure engineering completed prior to offering the site for sale. In addition, the sites are under the legal control of a community or in partnership with a third party.

“Sites that are certified ‘shovel ready’ are more attractive to companies and site-selection consultants looking for locations for business expansions or relocations,” said John Rhodes, a leading national site-location consultant with Moran, Stahl & Boyer of Lakewood Ranch, Fla. “Shovel-ready sites reduce the time and increase the predictability of getting the land developed, the building constructed, and the operation up and running.”

Certified shovel-ready status is fast becoming a standard for sites that are marketed around the country. Minnesota’s Certified Shovel Ready sites will be marketed at national conferences, trade shows and on the Web site, the state’s site-selection database.

Rhodes is available to assist communities with the certification process. Applications may be submitted at any time, but an estimated eight to 10 site-certification applications will be reviewed per quarter. The application fee for shovel-ready certification is $2,950. The fee covers the cost of initial review, onsite inspection, final certification and marketing.

The Minnesota Shovel Ready Certified Development Sites Initiative was created by the Positively Minnesota Marketing Partnership together with DEED.

Minnesota’s Shovel Ready Site Certification partners include: Positively Minnesota Marketing Partnership, Briggs & Morgan PA, city of Chaska, city of Maple Grove, city of St. Cloud, Pope Associates-Architects, HDR Engineering-Environmental, First American Title Insurance Co., Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc.-civil, Progressive Railroad, Union Pacific Railroad, Xcel Energy, and Pinnacle Engineering.

For more information on Minnesota’s Shovel Ready Site Certification Program, contact Gene Goddard, senior business development specialist, DEED, 651-259-7436, toll free 1-800-657-3858, e-mail , or John Rhodes, senior principal, Moran, Stahl & Boyer, 941-755-0074, e-mail . The Minnesota Shovel Ready Certification Web site is located at .

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