Stearns County Approves New Flyer Loan

Stearns County Approves New Flyer Loan Click to Enlarge Photo:

Mar 12, 2013 at 11:20 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - The Stearns County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a $250,000 no-interest loan to help the New Flyer bus company with their planned 5 million dollar expansion.

The decision was made during Tuesday morning's regular meeting.

The development plans include adding 12,000 square feet of workspace, several million dollars in new equipment and the addition of 136 new jobs.

During the meeting, New Flyer Projects Manager Roger Mickelson described a new partnership the company has struck with a company based in the U.K. to develop a medium-weight bus. He says the new jobs will be heavily in manufacturing.

"The base employment of the 136 jobs will be for manufacture of the bus itself," Mickelson says. "The expansion is to make better use of the facility when it comes to our welding area."

Mickelson says New Flyer has a working relationship with area colleges and schools to help fill the new openings.

"Recruitment is a big part of the expansion," Mickelson adds. "We'll be working closely with our area schools to recruit and students for these positions."

John Kramer, the CEO of the Greater St. Cloud Development Corporation, says the growth impacts more than just the company itself. According to statistics presented last year, New Flyer contributes around 100 million dollars to Minnesota's economy by using parts and services from other companies - many of which Kramer says are located in our area.

"When you look at a New Fyer bus, you'll notice a whole lot of parts. Several are made by New Flyer, but many are components made by other companies for New Flyer," Kramer says. "The company searches for those parts, and thankfully, many Minnesota companies - especially in this region - get to be a part of that."

New Flyer has already been granted a $100,000 no-interest loan from the city of St. Cloud. They'll now seek a forgivable $1 million no-interest loan from the Minnesota Investment Fund.

New Flyer was founded in 1930. In addition to St. Cloud, the company operates manufacturing centers in Crookston, MN and Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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