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WOPP informs and entertains

by Doug Hanson
Winthrop Opportunities, a local development corporation, held its annual meeting last Wednesday. President Dave Trebelhorn, top left, gave a brief description of the development group and held a quick election for the Board. Russ Peters decided not to run for re-election and Dave Kiel has moved out of town. Tom Langhoff and Doug Hanson ran for another three-year term and they were joined by Casey Wersal. Jenna Lehnen ran for the two-year term left on Kiel’s position. The other five directors are Ellen Anderson, Dale Jackson, Wes Anderson, Brian Pringle and Trebelhorn.
Sibley County Commissioner Steve Saxton. top right, talked about the upcoming county projects. The largest project was the $2 million upgrade to rail bridges near Morton. Also raising County Road 6 near Henderson above the 50-year flood stage and adding a walking path will be part of this year’s projects.
The project closest to Winthrop was replacing the culvert on Highway 19. That project is expected to start on July 22 and end on Sept. 20.  Finally a new software program has been installed.
City Administrator and EDA Director Michael Looft, bottom right, spoke about the development taking place through the EDA. Winthrop joined the Cities of Gibbon and Fairfax in a Rural Entrepreneurial Venture (REV) that was sponsored by and paid by Southern Minnesota Initiative Foundation (SMIF). It is designed to provide coaching on how to attract new businesses to your community. Looft stated that the EDA has given out $12,000 in technology grants, gave a grant to the garden club for the lawn of the month and provides gap financing. for businesses. He was happy to announce a new grocery store should be opening in late February and that the EDA, through a grant from SMIF, had a mural painted on the side of LaceFit Nutrition’s building. Currently the EDA is providing a Facade Grant up to $15,000 to upgrade store fronts, looking at how to help businesses affected by the Second Street Project and is working on a new STREAMS wastewater project.
Jason Douglas, bottom left, entertained the 71 people that attended the banquet. The stand-up comedian listened to the previous speeches and then used that information to have interaction with the crowd. Many in the audience found themselves part of the jokes.

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