The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development announced Monday, April 8, $1.69 million in infrastructure grants for projects in Greater Minnesota.

The funding awarded from DEED's Greater Minnesota Business Development Public Infrastructure Grant Program was approved for the cities of North Branch, Spring Valley and Wadena. The three projects were funded during the first quarter of 2019 and are expected to create more than 2,800 full-time jobs.

"Investments in public infrastructure are critical to the economic success of Greater Minnesota communities," stated Gov. Tim Walz in a news release. "These grants will help spur that economic development in North Branch, Spring Valley and Wadena."

"By utilizing these ... grants, cities around the state are improving their local economies," stated DEED Commissioner Steve Grove in a news release. "These infrastructure projects signal that Greater Minnesota is open for business, and these communities are eager to welcome new opportunities."

The Business Development Public Infrastructure grant program supports counties outside the seven-county Twin Cities metropolitan area. Under the program, DEED awards 50 percent of eligible capital costs for the qualifying public infrastructure projects. These projects include wastewater collection and treatment, drinking water, storm sewers and more.

Wadena was awarded $688,945 to install water, sewer, storm sewer and streets for a new business park. The park will provide 15 new industrial lots. The existing business park is full and a number of businesses will need to relocate due to a highway project. It is estimated 30 jobs will be created in the park.

North Branch was awarded $400,575 to assist with the extension of a large trunk water main and Spring Valley was awarded $608,966 to add water, sewer and streets necessary to enlarge their business park.