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West Central Electric plays major role in Philip Health Services Financing

As the pieces start to fit together regarding the financing of the nursing home expansion and renovation at Philip Health Services, one vital component is a loan being supported by West Central Electric Co-op.
The Rural Electric Economic Development Fund (REED) exists because of participation by 25 East River electrical co-ops in South Dakota and Western Minnesota.  Some 350 projects in that service area have been supported through low-interest loans, support programs and investment in community development programs since the fund was established in 1996.  
Regionally, West Central has been successful in its efforts to make REED funds available to worthy causes in the market they serve.  Chief Financial Officer Jeff Birkeland, in Murdo’s West Central’s office has been instrumental in structuring the loan in support of the nursing home project.
“We are proud to offer a lending hand to help this project become a reality.  It will serve people in our rural area for years to come by creating and retaining quality jobs with benefits that our communities need to survive,” said Birkeland.  
To promote support of the request, Birkeland sought assistance from each of the 15 member organizations that would have to vote on the proposal.  In doing so, he benefited from the assistance of Linda Salmonson, Economic Development Manager for the system.
Salmonson, based out of Madison, SD, said the request fits nicely into the corporate mission of West Central.  “Our best success stories come from communities like Philip,” she explained, “these are places that have found innovative ways to thrive, retain and create jobs, and provide vital community facilities and services like Philip Health Services. “
PHSI CEO Jeremy Schultes said the support from West Central and the REED program came along at just the right time.
“We were working on filling a gap in the funding strategy when we met with Mr. Birkeland and they were willing to pledge a significant amount of money to the fund to support the application.  Without their very generous support we might not have been able to make all of this work,” said Schultes, “it was a low interest loan, in the right amount and at the right time.”
Schultes said the application for the balance of the funding, a Rural Development loan through the USDA, is working its way through the process and he was hoping to hear from the agency in the near future.
Site work is underway following the relocation of a residence and removal of the foundation.  Further dirt work will begin in the near future, according to Schultes.

The Pioneer Review

221 E. Oak Street
Philip, SD 57567
Telephone: (605) 859-2516
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