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City approves awarding BND loan for SEPA

Jamestown City Council approves handling a low-interest Bank of North Dakota loan for the Spiritwood Energy Park Association for the infrastructure necessary for a planned greenhouse project.

This photo shows tomato plants grow under glass at Houweling Tomatoes' greenhouse operation in Utah. An infrastructure loan from the Bank of North Dakota could construct roads needed for the planned project. Courtesy / Houweling Tomatoes
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The Jamestown City Council unanimously approved Monday awarding a loan of up to $8.6 million from the Bank of North Dakota through the city to the Spiritwood Energy Park Association.

The loan is to be used for infrastructure and carries a 2% interest rate and a term of up to 30 years.

Mayor Dwaine Heinrich said the funds would be used for road and utility infrastructure at the SEPA industrial park.

"The method to our madness is the greenhouse project looks pretty good and we want to have everything in order," he said.

Houweling's Tomatoes announced a 30-acre greenhouse project for the SEPA industrial park in August. Planning is moving forward for the project, said Connie Ova, CEO of Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp., a partner in SEPA.


Plans call for the greenhouse to use steam heat from Spiritwood Station as a heat source to grow tomatoes and other vegetables under glass roofs year around. The greenhouse would also use carbon dioxide produced as a byproduct at Dakota AgEnergy, the ethanol plant at SEPA, in the greenhouse to augment plant growth.

Heinrich said each political subdivision in North Dakota is allocated $15 million as part of a revolving loan fund for infrastructure projects. Jamestown previously used $6.4 million from the loan program for the road connecting the Menards area to Jamestown Regional Medical Center and for street infrastructure in the area of Two Rivers Activity Center.

The city has up to six months to confirm the loan award which uses the remaining $8.6 million in the city's Bank of North Dakota allocation.

The Jamestown City Council had received letters of support for the loan award from the JSDC and the Stutsman County Commission.

The loan will be repaid by the tenants of the SEPA industrial park under the park's operational agreements over the 30-year term of the loan.

"Anytime we can use low-interest money for these projects it is a positive," Ova said.

In other business, the Jamestown City Council also agreed to accept a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency for about $25,000 related to the emergency costs related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Sarah Hellekson, city administrator, said the city had applied to recover the costs incurred by the city and also by Jamestown Parks and Recreation Department. FEMA had disallowed some expenses and the final breakdown of what expenses were covered by the grant was not available.

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