Here are some recent community success stories in northeastern Minnesota...
Life Link III, a leader in air medical transportation, has landed at a busy home at the Range Regional Airport in Hibbing, Minn. The company operates five helicopter bases in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. The Hibbing base opened in November of 2008. Life Link III provides round-the-clock helicopter and airplane ambulance service for patients in Minnesota and throughout the United States.
Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) provided $400,000 in grants to the Chisholm/Hibbing Airport Authority for the remodeling and restoration of its 12,000 square foot hangar building and road access/apron in order to accommodate the company. The hangar was the original airline terminal building built in 1940 as a Work Projects Administration project. The construction portion of the project totaled $1.2 million. In addition, Life Link III invested $2 million for equipment in the facility.
A medical helicopter is housed in the rehabilitated hangar at the airport, along with onsite medical crews and pilots 24 hours a day. The expansion created 50 construction jobs and 10 new permanent jobs.
The Victus Farm greenhouse project in the Eco-Industrial Park in Silver Bay is progressing. IRRRB supported the project through a $300,000 grant to the City of Silver Bay. The $1.2 million dollar building is 9,000 square feet and houses an integrated fish, algal and hydroponic produce production system. This is the first facility in the country to incorporate all three components. The system uses waste products from the fish as a natural nutrient source for the plants and algae. The plants and algae replenish the oxygen in water that was used by the fish, and the algae will produce biofuels.
Greenhouses will process and distribute the home grown produce and fish year around for local consumption by citizens, schools, restaurants and other businesses. Biodiesel generated from algae will be used by local industries and provide another renewable energy source for not only the greenhouse, but the entire park.