Success In Hastings
From the beginning Hastings was supplier to the prosperous farmers who came to town to do their Saturday shopping. Today it’s the commercial hub for thousands of county residents. Hardware stores, farm implement dealers, food markets, restaurants, jewelers, shoe emporiums, dry goods shops have done business along State Street since the city was a village. The contemporary “downtown” is more than ever an important shopping complex, with ample adjacent parking areas. In 1993 the Downtown Development Authority’s Streetscape project unified and beautified the main business district. Additional shops, offices and restaurants extend out to the big shopping mall that occupies the former County Fairgrounds.
Local financiers and business people have always had their eye on industrial development. At one time or another the city has been home to a whip company, a felt boot factory, a bookcase factory, a manufacturer of croquet sets and baseball bats and a furniture maker. Other “homegrown” enterprises include the Hastings Manufacturing Company (piston rings and Casite), Hastings Mutual Insurance Company, Flexfab Horizons International (flexible tubing), and Hastings Fiberglass Products. No longer locally owned, but still major employers, are BCN Technical Services (metal forming presses) and Viking Corporation (sprinkler systems). Part of being “the best” is stable employment for about 2,000 people in the manufacturing establishments located in Hastings.
Facade Improvement Grant Program
The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) has set aside funds for the enhancement of building facades in downtown Hastings. These matching grants assist property owners with the appearance of their individual buildings which enhance the visual character of the downtown and play a major role in the marketing success of the business district.
The DDA recently included additional grant funds for the architectural facade study renderings. The rendering funding does not require a match if it is part of a proposed facade project. The DDA understands the value of providing design assistance when helping a property owner best express their building facade character.
USDA/DDA Building Exterior Improvement Program
The Downtown Development Authority received revolving loan grant funds from the United States Department of Agriculture and established an Exterior Building Improvement Program at a level of $100,000.00. The initial project funded rehabilitation of six properties within the downtown. The program is now utilizing program income to make additional loans. The loan terms are zero percent interest for seven years and the average loan amount is ten to fifteen thousand dollars. The applicant must provide a fifty percent match in funds to be spent on the project.
USEPA Brownfield Assessment Grant Program
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) has awarded the City of Hastings a Brownfield Hazardous Substance Assessment Grant Cooperative Agreement (CA) for community-wide assessments of properties. The City, along with Carlton, Hastings, and Rutland Townships formed a Coalition to apply for this grant. As the lead Coalition member and CA recipient, the City will manage the grant program and report to the USEPA. The grant funds will be used to assess brownfield sites within the Coalition communities; investigate historic uses and environmental contamination; and develop liability management and remedial strategies that will allow for safe and viable redevelopment/reuse of brownfield sites. The Coalition is seeking environmental assessment projects that are eligible for grant funding.