New airplane manufacturer on Oct. 17 IRRRB agenda

Word NEWS in Old Typewriter Typebar Letters Isolated on WhiteThe Grand Rapids/Itasca County airport (GPZ) could become home to an airplane manufacturing company employing 20 professionals at first, with the potential of more jobs once production ramps up.

On Oct. 17, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board will consider loans for ACC Manufacturing, a subsidiary of One Aviation, that seeks to make airplanes in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. One Aviation is a new company, but several of its principles were attached to Kestrel Aviation, a proposed aviation project that never got off the ground in Superior, Wisconsin two years ago.

This time, the company says it has private financing and is prepared to start work in Grand Rapids right away.

Under the proposal the IRRRB would loan $1.5 million to ACC Manufacturing, Inc. (ACC) and $293,000 to the Grand Rapids Economic Development Authority to assist ACC in establishing a composite parts manufacturing facility at the Grand Rapids Airport.

This project has been in the works for almost two years, guided in the background by City of Grand Rapids officials, State Rep. Tom Anzelc and State Sen. Tom Saxhaug. It would be the first project of its kind in Itasca County.

Beyond the One Aviation project, the IRRRB has a busy agenda for Monday’s meeting (from its Oct. 17 agenda packet):

  • An $82,250 loan to Zakobe, LCC in Bovey for an expansion of the metal stamping and machining business.
    Taconite Economic Development Fund (TEDF) project allocations of $1,875,068 to Hibbing Taconite Company and $1,099,715 to United Taconite, LLC. Hibbing Taconite will utilize the funding toward the relocation of County Highway 5, which expands iron ore reserves and for
    scrubber house and furnace stack improvements. United Taconite will utilize the funds for engineering work on its Mustang custom flux pellet project. Each taconite producer must match its TEDF allocation.
  • A $350,000 recapitalization of the IRRRB Local Business Loan Guaranty Program, which provides loan guarantees to area businesses.
  • A $1,660,000 Iron Range Higher Education Account request to launch a new process operations program at Itasca Community College; to support Iron Range Engineering; to fund an Iron Range Engineering next innovation business model study; to expand and replace welding stations at
  • Mesabi Range College in Eveleth and Hibbing Community College; and to implement a Northeast Higher Education District strategy to attract more students to the region.
  • An Iron Range School Collaboration Grant Program request of $2 million by Education Innovation Partners (EIP) to initiate and support regional multi-district high-quality education and training initiatives for students, teachers and communities and to assist EIP members with technology equipment infrastructure upgrades.

The board will also consider a number of public works projects across the region:

  • City of Chisholm – $350,000 for site and infrastructure work in support of a $2 million market rate duplex housing development project.
  • Chisholm-Hibbing Airport Authority – $225,000 toward site work and aircraft apron development at $2.6 million a Midwest Aircraft Refinishing expansion.
  • City of Coleraine – $150,000 toward a $348,000 emergency safety lift upgrades and groomer replacement project at Mount Itasca Winter Sports Center.
  • Cook County-Grand Marais EDA – $200,000 toward an $891,403 project to renovate and construct an addition on the Cook County Airport arrival/departure building.
  • Cook County-Grand Marais EDA – $100,000 for infrastructure and site work to support a $2.3 million seven single-family unit housing development in Grand Marais.
  • Cook County-Grand Marais EDA – $300,000 toward an $844,585 project to renovate and reconstruct Canyon Golf Course at Superior National at Lutsen.
  • City of Eveleth – $150,000 toward infrastructure and construction of an entrance road at a new $3.7 million Lundgren’s auto dealership.
  • Eveleth-Virginia Airport Authority – $52,000 to support a $570,000 hangar site taxi lane rehabilitation/reconstruction project.
  • City of Nashwauk – $170,000 toward redevelopment of the Latvala Lumber site for a $602,332 automobile recycling facility.
  • Reif Arts Council – $250,000 to support the final phase of a $10.4 million expansion and upgrade of the Reif Center in Grand Rapids.
  • City of Tower – $350,000 toward water, sewer, roads and site work for a $6.7 million Tower Harbor Development project.
  • City of Two Harbors – $201,000 to support water main relocation for an $11.9 million project to allow construction of a proposed manufacturing business and expansion of an existing business.

Funding from the IRRRB is derived from local taconite production tax revenue, money paid by local iron mines in lieu of property taxes. Such funding is handled by the IRRRB, a board of appointed legislators, as part of a unique regional state agency dedicated to supporting the region’s economic interests.

The IRRRB meets at 11 a.m. Monday at the Joe Begich Building south of Eveleth, Minnesota.

DISCLOSURE: Tom Anzelc is a personal friend and I help him with his campaigns.



  1. Taylor Johnson says

    This would appear to be the final nail in the coffin of the Kestrel project in superior. The business plan of this geoup seems to be finding economically depressed areas to act as a stand in fof real investors without any of the headaches that come along with that model. I really hope that this project gets off the ground and benefits Grand Rapids and the Arrowhead region of Minnesota but we have heard the same type of promises before.

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