Loan helps Finance Lakeside Resort in Rural North Dakota
Ashtabula Crossing, a restaurant, bar and convenience store in Luverne, N.D., is getting a makeover thanks in part to a $11,583 PACE/Flex PACE community loan provided by the Rural Development Finance Corporation (RDFC). The loan provided a portion of the community funds needed to secure an interest buydown from the Bank of North Dakota (BND). Founded in 1994 by North Dakota’s rural electric and telecommunication cooperatives, RDFC helps rural communities grow by offering low-interest financing.
“This PACE/Flex PACE loan is an example of RDFC’s commitment to the cooperative principle of concern for community,” says Cass County Electric Cooperative Board Member John Froelich. “Our co-op is proud to participate in a program that promotes quality of life in rural North Dakota.”
Located along Highway 21 and centralized on Lake Ashtabula, Ashtabula Crossing is accessible by car or boat. The resort boasts a bar, a restaurant, a convenience store and a marina. Owner Greg Enstad purchased the business this spring, and he has big plans on deck for 2019.
“I plan on fixing up the shoreline along the marina with nicer docks. We fixed up the gas tank, which has been missing for quite a few years,” says Enstad. “We’re going to turn the marina into a true marina. People can rent spots for slips. And, I’m hoping to put RVs on the private lot behind [Ashtabula Crossing]. Hopefully, I’ll have three or four spots for that. That’s a big change. That’s never been here.”
A 20-minute drive from Valley City, Lake Ashtabula is a popular all-season recreation area for camping, fishing and boating. Frequented by locals, the lake also welcomes the occasional tourist.
“We had a couple gals from Fargo who got lost out here. They showed up on a Tuesday around 3 p.m. They came over the hill and saw this place and pulled in. They stuck around for a while and then came back the next weekend and camped all weekend,” says Enstad. “They just thought it was great. And it is! I get a lot of comments about that from people that roll into the area. They can’t believe their eyes when they come off the prairie and into the Sheyenne Valley.”
Ashtabula Crossing serves more than summer campers and fishermen. Enstad says he likes to cater to the farmers.
“We know they’re busy in the fields. When I took over in the spring, if they called in – I don’t care if it was 10 p.m. – we made them something. And, we’ll try to carry on with that. They’re our bread and butter. We’re in a rural community, and I want to cater to them.”
Enstad financed the purchase of Ashtabula Crossing through the BND’s PACE/Flex PACE program, which provides financing with an interest buy-down for businesses deemed eligible by a local economic development entity. PACE/Flex PACE projects are financed through a local lending institution in participation with BND, and a local economic development entity provides the funds for the interest rate buy-down. RDFC helps communities meet the required community participation, loaning up to 50 percent of the participation requirement for projects approved by BND. The Valley City-Barnes County Development Corporation and RDFC each contributed $11,583.14 towards the interest rate buydown for the purchase of Ashtabula Crossing, which was financed by Bank Forward.
“RDFC has increased the number of projects we can finance. It helps replenish the cash, so we can do more,” says JoAnn Hooper, Valley City-Barnes County Development Corporation. “[Lake Ashtabula] is very vital to the quality of life in Valley City. It’s a rural recreation area. It’s good to see businesses growing here and people being able to come out and enjoy the beautiful area.”
Enstad says it wasn’t a difficult decision to purchase Ashtabula Crossing. He grew up nearby and has many fond memories on the shores of Lake Ashtabula.
“I’ve been on the Sheyenne all my life. I’m old enough now, I’ll probably never leave it. I do love it out here. The people are great. It’s all been great.”
Ashtabula Crossing is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every Friday through Tuesday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays and Thursdays.