South Dakota loans $224M to hundreds of projects

Monday, October 20, 2014

Article by Rapic City Journal

MITCHELL, S.D. (AP) — Bruce Yakley stood inside the Trail King plant in Mitchell and watched the sparks fly off welding torches held by workers fusing together huge beams of metal.

Yakley, the company's president, wasn't with Trail King when the plant was built in 1987. And he wasn't there when the plant was expanded for the first time in 1992, and then again in 1994. But he knows without the help of a few low-interest loans from the state, the truck trailer manufacturer may not be where it is today.

"I guarantee it helped Trail King grow," Yakley said in a recent interview with The Daily Republic ( ).

The loans, which helped Trail King build and expand its plant in Mitchell, came from a program known as the Revolving Economic Development and Initiative Fund. The program, which is run by the South Dakota Governor's Office of Economic Development, provides low-interest loans to start-up firms, businesses that are expanding or relocating and local economic development corporations.

Trail King now has locations in Mitchell and West Fargo, North Dakota, and employs a total of about 800 people, including about 550 in Mitchell, according to Yakley. It has long since paid off the loans it received from the state.

The REDI Fund program was created in 1987 under then-Gov. George Mickelson and was funded initially by a temporary, 1-cent sales tax that lasted 10 months and generated $40 million.

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