By Jennifer Jones, South Dakota Public Radio
An organization in Sisseton is working to impact towns in the northeast part of the state through housing, community, and economic development.
GROW South Dakota Co-CEO Marcia Erickson says you can see the organization’s impact up and down Sisseton’s main street.
“A business loan with that second business down there,” Erickson says. “We had a business loan with this restaurant. He has paid off, very successful, thriving business. We have done a business loan over here on this side of the street.”
During a tour of her community, Erickson points out several homes that have benefited from loans, down payment help, weatherization assistance, and other programs offered by GROW South Dakota. The non-profit corporation has services across the state, but primarily focuses on communities in the northeast corner.
“The work that we do is so important to the individuals in our communities. There’s many people that just could not re-shingle their home if not for GROW South Dakota,” Erickson says. “We come out there with the tools and the funding and the financing to help not only low-income individuals, but businesses grow.”
She says the organization’s work makes rural communities more stable.
Funds Development Director Paula Jensen says that’s essential in a state where agriculture is the number one industry.
“There needs to be services in those small communities so that people can access a lumberyard or get their hair cut, or have a meal, or buy groceries,” Jensen says. “All those basic services are really needed. And our communities are pretty far spread out, especially in the northeast part of the state. So it’s not like we have access to healthcare or a large grocery store or those types of things. We’re typically traveling for those types of services, and sometimes for our jobs.”
She says building up rural communities makes the entire state stronger.
For more information about GROW South Dakota, call (605) 698-7654.