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Central to Minnesota … and Beyond

magine … the perfect community with an outstanding quality of life, top-notch educational institutions, land costs and taxes, shovel-ready sites, dedicated hard-working employees, close to a prosperous metropolitan area that is clean and safe.
   You'll find that — and more — in East Central Minnesota.
   East Central Energy, Minnesota's oldest and third largest consumer-owned electric cooperative, provides reliable low-cost energy to 15 business parks, located midway between Minneapolis-St. Paul and the Twin Ports of Duluth-Superior.
Business development is a key strategy for ECE. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life and provide premier service to its customers — especially the 4,000 business customers that represent nearly half of the cooperative's energy sales.
   "Business customers in particular are very important to us because they create living-wage head-of-household jobs to elevate the standard of living for thousands of Minnesotans," said Henry Fischer, ECE's Business and Community Development Manager. "Every day, thousands of our members commute to metropolitan areas for high-paying jobs. We would like to reverse that trend and encourage businesses to locate in our service area where people choose to live in crime-free communities, raise horses the country, and enjoy recreational opportunities at our lakes and trails."
   Electric infrastructure is in place at 15 business parks to provide reliable low-cost electric energy. Many of these business parks are now equipped with looped electrical feeds, upsized transformers, and new dedicated underground power lines.
   Two of the most dynamic communities in East Central Energy's service area are Cambridge and St. Cloud. Their close proximity to the Twin Cities offer special advantages for businesses wanting to take advantage of Minnesota's tax-free Job Opportunity Building Zone (JOBZ) program. The new Cambridge Opportunity Industrial Park offers shovel-ready sites close to Minnesota Highways 65 and 95 and I-35 and a fast-track permitting process, complete with a virtual spec building program.
   The new St. Cloud Airport Business Park is located on St. Cloud's fast growing east-side, just one mile north of the St. Cloud Regional Airport and U.S. Highway 10, directly east of the downtown business district and St. Cloud State University. It offers land for just $1 per square foot — far below market prices for land anywhere in the U.S. JOBZ and Tax Increment Financing also are available to qualifying businesses. Quality, affordable housing is located adjacent to the business park.
   East Central Energy's general service electric rate has been relatively unchanged for 18 years, offering business customers stable electric energy costs in the future. Retail energy costs average 8-9 cents per kilowatt-hour depending on load factor — far lower than energy costs in many other regions of the U.S.
   East Central Energy offers a variety of incentives to promote business retention and expansion as well as the attraction of complementary new businesses to East Central Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin. For more information about East Central Energy's business development opportunities, check out its website at or contact Henry Fischer, Business and Community Development Manger, at (763) 689-8055.
   For more information about the St. Cloud Airport Business Park, contact Bruce Thielman, St. Cloud Housing and Redevelopment Authority, (320) 252-0880 or check out


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