How to Become Shovel-Ready Certified

To make the certification as meaningful and valuable to your community as possible, we've engaged the consulting firm Moran, Stahl & Boyer to guide you through the process.

Widely regarded as authorities in site selection and economic development, Moran, Stahl & Boyer helped develop our certification standards and will process and analyze all applications and work closely with you to see that all criteria for certification are met.

Application Process

The application fee for the Minnesota Certified Shovel-Ready Site program is $3,250. The fee covers the cost of initial review, onsite inspection, final certification, marketing and annual maintenance of the Shovel-Ready program.

View an Approval Process for Shovel-Ready Certification Program flowchart.

The application is a seven-step process.

Step One
Download and save the Shovel-Ready Site Application to your computer. The application is in an Excel file format. Next, view the Instruction Sheet that will guide you through the application.

Step Two
Gather the required support documentation requested in the application. If not all the information, site tests, and assessments are immediately available but will be complete within four to six weeks, finish the application and note when the supporting documentation is expected to be available.

Step Three
Submit electronic copies of the completed application and supporting documentation by email to and

It is also acceptable to provide the electronic documents on CD and send them by mail to the addresses below.

Step Four
After all necessary documents have been sent electronically AND accepted by John Rhodes, mail a check for $3,250 payable to the State of Minnesota to:

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development
1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street, Suite E200
St. Paul, MN 55101-1351
Attn: Kevin Kelleher

Mail a paper copy of the completed application and supporting documentation to:

Moran, Stahl & Boyer
8374 Market Street 422
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Attn: John Rhodes

Step Five
Moran, Stahl & Boyer will review the application and telephone the contact listed in the application to schedule an onsite visit.

Step Six
A consulting team from Moran, Stahl & Boyer will conduct the onsite visit and discuss aspects of the site. This also is an opportunity to bring together local economic development stakeholders and have a question-and-answer session with the consulting team.

Step Seven
Within six weeks of the onsite visit, Moran, Stahl & Boyer will issue a letter either certifying the site or providing a list of what needs to be completed in order to obtain certification.

Certification Schedule

There will be two site certification sessions. Eight to ten site certification applications will be accepted during each session.

Session I
  • Application deadline: April 30.
  • Field visit the first or second week of June
  • Certification issued early July
Session II
  • Application deadline August 31
  • Field visit the first or second week of September
  • Certification issued early October


Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about the certification process.

May communities or site owners submit more than one site at a time?
Yes. You may submit multiple sites. However, each is considered separately and requires its own application and processing fee. Note that a site consists of parcels that are contiguous.

May I contact Moran, Stahl and Boyer (MS&B) during the review process
Absolutely. The MS&B project team expects to have regular contact with you throughout the review process.

Are there minimum or maximum limits on site size?
No, there are no size limits.

What happens if my application does not initially qualify for certification
Your application is valid for 18 months. If you meet the standards within that period, you will receive certification.

Once a site is certified, how do I maintain certification?
You will be notified every 120 days to confirm that the site is still available and the information listed in Minnesota's Land and Buildings Database is still accurate. If the site has been sold or has undergone any material changes, you must notify DEED.


These Minnesota communities, companies and organizations have provided support, information and materials to help develop our Shovel-Ready Certified Site Program.

  • Minnesota Marketing Partnership
  • Briggs & Morgan PA
  • City of Chaska
  • City of Maple Grove
  • City of St. Cloud
  • Pope Associates - Architects
  • HDR Engineering Environmental
  • First American Title Insurance Company
  • Short Elliott Hendrickson, Inc. - civil
  • Progressive Railroad
  • Union Pacific Railroad
  • Xcel Energy
  • Pinnacle Engineering