During their December 7 meeting, the Minnesota Department of Iron Range Resources & Rehabilitation unanimously approved $15 million in funding for a new industrial park in the city of Aurora. 

A $9 million grant will go toward developing 80 acres of land with utilities and other infrastructure at the intersection of Minnesota State Highway 135 and St. Louis County Road 100. An accompanying zero-interest loan of $6 million will allow the Aurora Economic Development Authority to construct a 30,000 square foot spec building.  

The economic revitalization strategy behind the site is to attract one or more tenants and create high-skill jobs within the community. The space is designed to be flexible and appeal particularly to manufacturers.

A December 7 KAXE article reported that there is already interest among businesses in the site according to Janelle Greschner, director of business recruitment for IRRR. 

“It’s huge for us,” Lucas Heikkila, Aurora city administrator, stated in a December 7 Mesabi Tribune article. “It’s jobs that we need. Aurora is four square miles and our tax base is not that diversified. Our taxpayers are paying the lion’s share. We need commercial buildings and business.”

“We hope to break ground when the frost is out of the ground,” Aurora Mayor Doug Gregor was quoted in the same Mesabi Tribune report. “We’re enormously excited about the potential to attract and accommodate a whole new sector. The positive impacts on this area are just incalculable. Even though it’s in Aurora, it’s a project that will help the entire East Range.”

Development is slated to start in spring 2024.