SRDC was Organized
The Southwest Regional Development Commission (SRDC) was organized by local leaders as authorized by the Minnesota Regional Development Act of 1969 (Minn. Stat. § 462.381 to 462.398). The Minnesota State Legislature passed the Act to encourage cooperation among local units of government. Local leaders recognized the opportunities and formed the SRDC for the purpose of working with and on behalf of local units of government to develop plans and implement programs to address economic, social, physical, and governmental concerns. Then Governor Wendell Anderson officially signed the SRDC into existence on June 12, 1973. Our first office opened in Slayton in early 1974.
Designated an Area Agency on Aging
SRDC was designated an Area Agency on Aging and began offering services to the elderly. This designation continued until 2004 when we joined our aging programs with two other Regional Development Commissions to form the Minnesota River Area Agency on Aging (MNRAAA) to cover 27 counties in southwest Minnesota. In 2016 MNRAA became its own stand-alone agency.
Affiliate to the MN Census Data Center
SRDC was designated as an affiliate to the Minnesota Census Data Center network, beginning an ongoing relationship with the State Demographer’s Office and the U.S. Census Bureau.
Became Involved in Economic Development
SRDC began it’s extensive programing and involvement in economic development, first forming Prairieland Economic Development Corporation as a regional Small Business Administration Certified Development Corporation, and then gaining designation by the U.S. Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration, as a federally designated Economic Development District (EDD) in 1985.
Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership is Created
In 1992, SRDC began a collaboration with three local Community Action Agencies to create the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership. Created to address the need for affordable housing throughout the greater Southwest region, the Housing Partnership has since expanded their service area to include south-central Minnesota and opened a second office in Mankato along with its office in Slayton. The Housing Partnership still shares a building with SRDC and the two agencies continue working on housing initiatives throughout the region.
Southwest Solid Waste Commission and the Southwest Energy Task Force Form
Beginning in the late 1980s and early 1990s, local counties started working together in more formal ways around issues of common concern in the region such as solid waste and renewable energy, forming the Southwest Solid Waste Commission and the Southwest Energy Task Force. The Southwest Energy Task Force reinvented itself in 2005 as the Rural Minnesota Energy Board (RMEB), a joint powers board dealing with renewable energy issues throughout southern Minnesota. SRDC has provided staff to these agencies throughout their existence and continues to provide staff support to the twelve county Southwest Solid Waste Commission, and the eighteen county RMEB.
A Disaster Revolving Loan Fund was Formed
Flooding in 1993 prompted the SRDC to use its EDD status to capitalize a Disaster Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). With help from the Economic Development Administration, the RLF has continuously provided access to gap financing to businesses in the region since 1994.
Implementation of Clean Energy Resource Teams
SRDC began partnering on a program being put together by the University of Minnesota Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and the Minnesota Department of Commerce to implement Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) across the state of Minnesota. This statewide partnership provides assistance to identify and implement community based clean energy projects. The Great Plains Institute has since joined with the others to form the core partnership that drives CERTs efforts.
Assisting the Retired Senior Volunteer Program
SRDC began assisting the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) with an administrative structure, and on January 1, 2008, became a member of the RSVP Joint Powers Board. RSVP changed its name in 2014 to A.C.E. of Southwest Minnesota. SRDC continues to do finance and support work for A.C.E.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Pilot Program Begins
The Rural Minnesota Energy Board (RMEB) began the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) pilot program, which assists commercial and industrial businesses with financing toward energy improvements which are paid back through a special assessment. The first PACE loan closed in August of 2014. The PACE program is staffed by the SRDC and provides loan services to the eighteen counties within the RMEB’s service area.
The First DevelopMN Plan is Completed
SRDC, along with the other Regional Development Organizations in Minnesota, acting as the Minnesota Association of Development Organizations (MADO), completed the first DevelopMN Plan, a statewide planning effort. DevelopMN creates a common framework for regional economic development and identifies strategies to address the special challenges and opportunities of Greater Minnesota. Since the first plan, MADO members have worked together on projects throughout Greater Minnesota and have developed a DevelopMN Dashboard to track progress on initiatives and goals.
Provided COVID-19 Assistance through RLF
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, SRDC has worked closely with its federal partners to provide additional Revolving Loan Funds to the region to shore up the business community, and to assist communities in their efforts to become more resilient to change. SRDC also began work on the region’s first Economic Resiliency Plan, a plan that outlines the region’s economic weaknesses and how to connect its assets and opportunities for potential partnerships to aid in establishing economic resilience for the region.
Secured an EDA Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Grant
SRDC secured an EDA Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Grant to develop a Regional Trails Plan. This two-year project will be a collaboration between the region’s counties, communities, trails advocates, and regional and state partners to recommend and prioritize trail corridors and build collaborative efforts for trail development in the region.
Working as a Regional Partner
SRDC continues its work as a regional partner for community development, economic development, and transportation planning initiatives. Through planning, administrative services, technical assistance, and collaboration on initiatives important to the region, we’re working with and for our communities to build resilience and prepare the region for a future where people, communities, and businesses thrive.