Lakefield's Hi-Lo Club connects to city wastewater with revolving loan check
Federated Rural Electric in Jackson assisted the Hi-Lo Club with a $159,582 Revolving Loan Fund check, in order to help make the transition from an on-site septic system to the Lakefield sewer line.
LAKEFIELD — The Hi-Lo Club's ongoing renovation started with the ground floor and remains ongoing, as demolition in the lower level of the building began this month, but one major addition may be less visible to patrons — connection to Lakefield's city wastewater lines.
Federated Rural Electric in Jackson assisted the Hi-Lo Club with a $159,582 Revolving Loan Fund check, in order to help owners James and Tresa Hussong make the transition from an on-site septic system to the Lakefield sewer line.
Federated and the Hi-Lo Club signed the 10-year loan paperwork on March 24. The Hi-Lo Club also provided matching funds with a loan from the Southwest Initiative Foundation in Hutchinson and the $100,000 from the Jackson County Revolving Loan Fund. As funds are repaid to Federated, they can be loaned to other organizations.
For more than 75 years the Hi-Lo Club has been a staple in Lakefield, widely known as a place to enjoy “Food at its Finest.”
“The restaurant opened in 1945 and over the years added a liquor license in 1988 and catering shortly thereafter,” Tresa said. “We purchased the business in 2021 when it closed due to the pandemic and owners’ health. We remodeled the upstairs with a ‘Rat Pack’ décor dating back to the 1950s supper club, added a bar upstairs and reopened Dec. 31, 2022. Our restaurant features many of the same foods from the past, such as steak, fish, lobster and pastas, along with local businesses’ food, such as cheesecake, butcher shop and mixed greens.”
“State licensing also required us to upgrade the site’s handling of wastewater,” Jim added. “We previously had a septic system that was more than 20 years old. Connecting to the city of Lakefield’s sewer lines was more affordable than a new septic system. Plus, this way we no longer have ongoing maintenance or inspections. This loan package helped make it more affordable.”
“Federated initially applied for the zero-interest loan and then charges up to one-percent handling to the organizations,” said Scott Reimer, Federated’s general manager. “As these organizations pay back their loans, this money goes into a revolving loan fund to assist other organizations for economic development or community facilities.”
The recipient also pays for the loan’s closing costs and one percent interest.
Federated has a long history of economic development. Since 1992, Federated provided economic development dollars totaling $4.463 million. This contributed to keeping 1,168 jobs and securing 668 jobs in the area.
More specifically, Federated’s revolving loan started in 2009 with a loan from the United States Department of Agriculture for $244,000 that financed a Ceylon fire truck and Tenhassen Township Hall. Then in 2016 Federated secured additional USDA revolving loan funds and added a matching 20 percent totaling $421,515 toward new Heron Lake and Round Lake fire trucks. Since then, Okabena used the revolving loan funds for its fire department brush fire truck, payloader and shop building. Federated also assisted the Fox Lake Conservation League to buy the former Alliant power plant land to create a park in 2021. Round Lake Winery and Bergen Meats used the program to upgrade their septic systems.
Over the past four years, USDA Rural Development has invested nearly $10 million in REDLG funding to support community facilities and small business development and expansion in rural communities throughout Minnesota. Rural Development also invests in housing, water and wastewater treatment, community facilities, renewable energy and broadband. For more information on USDA Rural Development programs, please contact your local area office by visiting www.rd.usda.gov/mn.
Federated is a Touchstone Energy Cooperative serving 6,900 members in Jackson and Martin Counties.