The Ranger - July 1

department of iron range resources and rehabilitation

The Ranger 

July 1, 2020

Businesses in Virginia to receive funding through a downtown redevelopment plan


The city of Virginia and the Virginia Economic Development Authority (VEDA) last week celebrated the commencement of its Downtown Redevelopment Grant Program with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of Canelake’s Candies on main street.

The new program is anticipated to renovate up to 12 commercial properties that are currently substandard and/or blighted and located in the city-designated Redevelopment District. Canelake’s is the first business to receive a redevelopment grant. The iconic family-owned candy store, which was founded in 1905, acquired an adjacent blighted building and is renovating it to accommodate an expansion.

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the redevelopment initiative with a $250,000 EDA Partnership Pilot grant, and VEDA contributed $300,000 with the sale of a tax abatement bond. Other project partners include Virginia Community Foundation and ReVive Virginia, a nonprofit organization formed to focus on downtown preservation and revitalization.


With the funding, VEDA will offer grants in the form of forgivable loans of up to $49,000 to downtown business owners who reinvest in the physical assets of their business property. Favorable loan resources have also been secured to provide additional affordable financing to leverage grant funding.

“The goal is to enhance and grow commercial, mixed-use development in our historic downtown,” said City Administrator Britt See-Benes. “Market values increase when dilapidated properties are redeveloped. That type of positive change in our Redevelopment District can have city-wide benefits to our residents and businesses.”

For VEDA redevelopment grants, email City Administrator Britt See-Benes or call her at (218) 748-7500. For Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation EDA Partnership Pilot information, email Whitney Ridlon or call her at 218-735-3004.

Hoyt Lakes adds new community marquee

Hoyt Lakes Community Marquee

A new electronic sign was added outside the Hoyt Lakes Arena to inform residents and tourists of community events such as festivals, chamber of commerce and city council meetings, public service notices and COVID-19 related news. Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation supported the project with a Culture & Tourism grant.

The arena is located at the city’s entry point and adjacent to the main street area. It hosts private and public events throughout the year. The electronic marquee replaced an outdated wooden sign that required manual changing of messages. The new sign may be updated instantly through a remote online platform.

“The sign is a great improvement to our city and will help keep citizens informed,” said Hoyt Lakes Mayor Chris Vreelend. “We are very thankful to the Chamber of Commerce and Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation for their funding assistance.”

The Hoyt Lakes Chamber of Commerce coordinated and helped fund the project, as well as spearheaded the grant application process. Local businesses, chamber members and nonprofit organizations will be able to promote their news and events on the sign.

Email Danae Beaudette for Culture & Tourism grant information or call her at 218-735-3022.

Midwest’s largest lift-served bike park underway at Giants Ridge

Giants Ridge Trails

Giants Ridge has five purpose-built mountain bike trails open to the public and served by the Sarajevo Express chairlift. The trails total about five miles and are beginner to advanced winding throughout the alpine ski mountain and Nordic ski trails. Twenty additional miles are currently under construction and expected to be completed by 2022.

Giants Ridge is one of nine mountain bike trail systems in the region that are either completed or under development. In addition to Giants Ridge, northeastern Minnesota trails include Tioga in Cohasset, Redhead in Chisholm, Cuyuna Lakes Recreation Area in Crosby, Hidden Valley in Ely, Tofte/Lutsen/Grand Marais system in Cook County and Split Rock Wilds in Lake County.

“Our region is well on its way to becoming a national mountain biking destination,” said Benji Neff, Giants Ridge mountain sports director. “The terrain offers cyclists spectacular views of lakes and reclaimed mining sites, as well as access to rugged, raw natural beauty through dense forests and varying elevations. The scenery and variety are like none other in the nation.”

Northeastern Minnesota is widely-known for outdoor adventure. People visit the area for golf, hiking, hunting, fishing, ATV riding, and now mountain biking. Click here to see a short video of the trails.

Day and season passes are available for the trails, and the Giants Ridge Rental Shop has mountain bike and full-face helmet rentals.

Giants Ridge is owned by Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation and managed by Guest Services, a premier hospitality management company in the United States since 1917. Click here for Giants Ridge mountain biking information including trail passes and hours of operation.

Grant opportunities to strengthen northeastern Minnesota

L&M Exterior

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation invests resources to foster vibrant growth and economic prosperity in northeastern Minnesota. Several grant programs will accept applications for the fiscal year 2021 funding cycle beginning July 1:

  • Business Energy Retrofit (BER) – Assists small businesses with 100 employees or less with energy efficiency improvements to their buildings. Administered by Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency.
  • Commercial Redevelopment – Assists communities with demolition of dilapidated commercial or industrial buildings and cleaning up brownfields for the purpose of redevelopment.
  • Community Infrastructure - Assists communities with infrastructure projects that support residential and public facility development.
  • Development Infrastructure - Assists communities with projects that support economic development.
  • Development Partnership - Assists with research, education and development-based initiatives that support long-term economic growth.
  • Downtown Building Rehabilitation (DBR) - Assists business and building owners with code compliance improvements. Administered by Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency
  • Mineland Reclamation - Assists with highly visible development and restoration of mining-impacted land.
  • Regional Trails - Assists with design, engineering and construction of various types of trails such as biking, hiking, walking, ATV, skiing and snowmobile.
  • Residential Redevelopment - Assists communities with the demolition of dilapidated residential structures including single-unit residential homes, residential duplex homes, garages, sheds and barns.
  • Iron Range School Collaboration: (1) Bricks & Mortar and (2) Innovative Academic Programming - Assists with regional multi-district collaborative initiatives that create greater availability and access to high quality education for students and training for educators.
  • Workforce Development - Assists with education and training initiatives that emerge from industry sectors, schools or collaborations that address workforce needs.

Eligible applicants in our service area are encouraged to apply for one or more grants. Click here to learn more about application dates and view grant guidelines. Click here to access the grant application portal (FLUXX).

Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation funds its grants through taxes paid by Minnesota’s mining industry.

PHOTO: City of Hibbing used a Commercial Redevelopment grant to support an expansion of L&M Radiator’s manufacturing facility that resulted in 145,000 square feet of combined new and renovated space.

Deadline TOMORROW: Apply for the Small Business Relief Grant Program

Minnesota DEED Logo

Don’t wait until the last minute! Applications for the Small Business Relief Grant Program are due by 5 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday July 2.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) is overseeing the Small Business Relief Grants Program, which was passed by the Minnesota State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Tim Walz on June 16, 2020. To learn more and apply, visit

This program will disburse $10,000 grants to Minnesotan owned and operated businesses that can demonstrate financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. More than $60 million is available for grant awards which will be selected through a computer-generated, randomized selection process.

Who can apply? Businesses with 50 or fewer full-time employees are eligible. Half of the funds will go to businesses in Greater Minnesota and half to businesses in the seven-county Twin Cities metro area. To be eligible, businesses must have a permanent physical location in Minnesota and be majority owned by a permanent resident of Minnesota.

Under the law, portions of the funding will be targeted toward businesses that fall into certain categories:

Additional information about eligibility, frequently asked questions and the online form to apply are available now at – the application shouldn’t take long, but the online portal for applications will close at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday July 2.

The Ranger is a publication of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation. Our mission is to invest resources to foster vibrant growth and economic prosperity in northeastern Minnesota.