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1️⃣0️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News This Week

Econ dev news from 38 states and Canada. May 9th, 2021 weekly edition.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
15 min read
1️⃣0️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News This Week

Happy Economic Development Week everybody!

Alabama

Two Alabama chambers of commerce were recognized with the Mac Conway Awards for Excellence in Economic Development from Site Selection magazine.  The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber won the award for the third consecutive year, while the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce garnered the distinction for the second year in a row.

Arizona

Phoenix is considering paying a developer to build a half street at a key location in the southwestern part of the city. (Christine Mackay)

Arkansas

Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Facilities Authority recently released its annual report which noted several accomplishments including Emerson locating a $35 million facility in Ash Flat, workforce development program growth at local colleges, and it showed there were about 757 jobs created in the organization’s targeted industries. (Graycen Bigger)

Siloam Springs Chamber city directors will decide on Tuesday whether to approve a resolution concerning amending the 2021 budget to pay the Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce for their fourth quarter 2020 economic development services. (Arthur Hulbert)

California

Economist Christopher Thornberg keynoted the Tulare County Economic Development Corporation’s Sequoia Regional Economic Summit to discuss the county’s economic state as the nation continues to move through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The San Ramon Planning Commission is set to gather for its regular meeting on Tuesday, when city officials will review economic development opportunities for San Ramon's future.

After being on pause for several years, the Pleasanton City Council is set to revisit a proposed transportation fee that would be paid by developers who build in the Johnson Drive Economic Development Zone.

Monterey Bay Economic Partnership has announced it will host its 7th Annual Regional Economic Summit on Thursday, May 6 from 9:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. This will be a virtual event. Topics include how the region is doing economically and the opportunities ahead to reimagine the region while taking advantage of relief and stimulus funds. The summit will include discussions on innovative ways to help workers upskill and reskill.

Colorado

Northglenn City Council proclaimed May 2 to May 8 as Small Business Week. (Debbie Tuttle)

For Wendy Lind, the Hayden Horsepower clinic wasn’t just a horse training event but a piece of something much bigger. The event marked a return to normal after a year of COVID-19 lockdown and a step towards putting Hayden on the map as a destination town of its own, not just a bedroom community to Steamboat Springs.  Lind obtained a $10,000 grant from the Hayden Economic Development Committee to help bring events to the town.

A new Grand Junction City Council will be sworn in Monday, kicking off the typical process of long-range planning but with an unusual twist not afforded most councils — millions of unspoken for dollars to spend and potentially more on the way.  Grand Junction Economic Partnership Executive Director Robin Brown said it has the community thinking about projects it could fund.

Connecticut

In an effort to increase its online presence, the town of Litchfield is turning to a former local journalist for a marketing campaign to tell the town’s tales and show what it has to offer.

Florida

The city of North Port’s Economic Development Division will host the fifth annual Real Estate Summit on May 21 from 8:30 to 11:30 am at North Port City Hall, 4970 City Hall Blvd.  People can attend the event or watch a livestream on the city’s YouTube page. (Mel Thomas, Destin Wells)

North Port’s economic guru, Pamela “Mel” Thomas, is retiring after a successful and lengthy career in community planning, business and higher education that included a role in the 1996 U.S. Olympic Games in Atlanta.

Fort Lauderdale appears to be missing out on many of the companies moving to South Florida during the pandemic — with a number of them instead landing in West Palm Beach and Miami. (Jenni Morejon, Kelly Smallridge)

Georgia

Saadia Madsbjerg has been named as the new president of the Coca-Cola Foundation.  Madsbjerg is a former managing director of the Rockefeller Foundation. Before joining The Rockefeller Foundation, Madsbjerg was senior vice president for strategic planning at the New York City Economic Development Corp.

Bill.com and Square are partnering with the Black Chambers of Atlanta to support small and midsize businesses as they navigate the second year of the global pandemic.

The Barrow-Braselton Joint Economic Development Authority held its inaugural meeting April 29 to elect officers, review and adopt bylaws, set a meeting schedule and discuss future land use in the area.

Microsoft Corp. bought 93 acres in Douglas County, its latest significant land grab around the periphery of the city as it turns metro Atlanta into its next data center region.  The Development Authority of the City of Douglasville approved tax incentives on 66 acres of the site last year, according to county property deeds. Economic development officials said they could not comment about the project because they signed a nondisclosure agreement.

Hawaii

Here’s why it’s so hard to reshape Hawaii’s tourism industry: Policymakers fear jeopardizing the industry’s recovery from the pandemic because Hawaii needs the jobs back.

Idaho

Lisa Holland, Economic Development Director for the City of Kuna and Planning and Zoning Commissioner for the City of Meridian has died.

Illinois

South Beloit is searching for an economic development expert.

Indiana

Plans for a special taxing district meant to foster economic development are moving forward, but not without opposition from some leaders and residents of the area.

Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp’s first service hub in Indiana is up and running in Greenwood. Greenwood offered the company $78,000 in cash incentives. The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered it up to $4.5 million in conditional tax credits, and up to $500,000 in training grants, due to the company’s plans to create hundreds of jobs.

Indiana officials are making a second go of investing in $500 million in capital projects around the state with the newly launched Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative. The program mirrors a previous version created by former Gov. Mike Pence.

Alexius Barber is the new manager of NIPSCO’s public affairs and economic development efforts in Lake County.

Iowa

Earlville manufacturer serves hog industry, and aids local economy.  Local economic development leaders believe the sky is the limit for the Earlville company. (Donna Boss)

Kansas

Torch.AI is bringing in $27 million in state tax incentives from Kansas to expand its operations in a suburb of Kansas City. The fresh cash influx comes less than two months after the company secured $30 million in new Series A funding that is also aimed at growing its business. The tax incentive package was awarded by the Kansas Department of Commerce.  Torch.AI committed to to creating almost 500 new full-time jobs over the next five years, including 100 professional workers in 2021 with average salaries over $100,000.

Greater Kansas City is creating jobs and expanding sales faster than expected just a few months ago, according to a revised forecast from the Center for Economic Development and Business Research at Wichita State University. Jeremy Hill, the center’s director, says the numbers are so healthy they could cost him his reputation.

Former economic development director for Phillips County, Nick Poels, is working with nonprofit NetWork Kansas on a new project to bring computer science education to K-12 schools across the state, with support from the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Kentucky

The president of Owensboro Sister Cities and Regions said the agency is focused on how it can attract economic development, and the program has helped the city by generating revenue from visitors and drawing permanent residents. (Michael Vanover)

Site Selection magazine on Monday announced that Northern Kentucky Tri-ED and Redi-Cincinnati are among the top economic development organizations in the country.  “A global pandemic did not stop Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati from having a strong 2020 with new company locations and expansions creating new career opportunities for residents in the region,” said Lee Crume, President & CEO of NKY Tri-ED.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced that Louisville Forward, the city’s economic and community development organization, and Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce and regional economic development organization who represents 15 county partners, have been jointly recognized as a Top U.S. Economic Development Organization for 2020 by Site Selection magazine.

Simpsonville ready to welcome manufacturer and 700 jobs.  In exchange for up to $10 million in tax incentives, KCC Manufacturing will make a $60 million investment. A spokesperson says the company will phase in the new 700 jobs over ten years. The jobs will pay an average of $29 an hour with benefits.

Barren River Area Development District is updating their regional economic development plan. (Eric Sexton, Emily Hathcock)

Site Selection Magazine has awarded the Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce the Mac Conway Award, naming them among the top twenty economic development organizations in the United States for its performance in 2020. Bowling Green is the smallest community to receive the Mac Conway Award this year. (Ron Bunch)

Louisiana

Two new PPE manufacturing facilities are planned for the Broussard area, and they're expected to create 2,200 new jobs, officials say.  To secure the project in Acadiana, the State of Louisiana offered a competitive incentive package for both sites. For the facility in Lafayette Parish, the incentive package that includes a comprehensive workforce solution. Additionally, the company will receive a $2.5 million performance-based grant. For the facility in St. Martin Parish, the company will receive LED FastStart services, as well as an $8 million performance-based grant. The company also is expected to utilize the state’s Quality Jobs and Industrial Tax Exemption programs. (One Acadiana President/CEO Troy Wayman, President/CEO Gregg Gothreaux of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority)

Potential developer of St. Tammany Parish casino polls local residents.  Chris Masingill, CEO of the parish's economic development agency, St. Tammany Corp., said that he's encouraged the company to be sensitive to public input, and he pointed to the feedback the developer has been gathering in public informational forums on the project.

An Amazon robotics fulfillment center will be built in Shreveport, Governor John Bel Edwards announced.

JEDCO unveiled the Jefferson EDGE 2025, a five-year plan to promote sustainability, job growth and investment in Jefferson Parish. The planning process took place virtually throughout 2020, where key stakeholders created a vision for a more resilient, diverse, equitable and competitive parish.

Maine

Westbrook opened the state’s first city business retention and expansion program. (Daniel Stevenson, Ashley Rand)

Governor Mills unveils plan to spur economic recovery, achieve long-term economic growth.

Maryland

The federal agency that prints paper currency might relocate to Prince George’s County, officials said. The move is only a proposal, but leaders are already excited about the jobs that could come to the area. “Building a new engraving and printing facility in the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center will add 1,427 well-paying federal jobs to Prince George’s County,” said David Iannucci, president and CEO of the Prince George’s County Economic Development Corporation.

Massachusetts

Boston’s Longwood Medical and Academic Area a critical Massachusetts economic and job-creation engine, new report shows.

Michigan

Lake Superior Community Partnership: Economic Development Week 2021 in Marquette County (Sarah Lucas)

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership has been recognized as one of the top 20 economic development organizations in America by 2021 Site Selection Magazine. (Bob Trezise)

Monroe County commissioners and Frenchtown Township Board members were among a group of local officials who toured the immense new InSite Real Estate Investment distribution center under construction at the former Nike Missile Base site last week. (Tim Lake)

Buoyed by the success of its previous events, Bay Future, Inc. and its regional economic development partners, including Midland Business Alliance, are hosting the fourth annual Coming Home Hiring Event.

The city of Douglas launched a Patronicity crowdfunding campaign to raise $25,000 to renovate a pair of city parks.  The Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the city of Douglas said the Patronicity campaign launched Monday has a goal to raise $25,000 by June 30 for the Douglas Park Project, and if it meets the goal, the project will win a matching grant with funds from the MEDC’s Public Spaces Community Places program. (Michele Wildman)

Minnesota

The Minnesota Economic Development Foundation announced training and scholarship opportunities for economic development professionals.

In the city of Ely, one of the clear and present roadblocks to economic growth is the severe shortage of daycare services.

Ramsey County Board of Commissioners has appointed Channon Lemon, VP of Economic Development at the St. Paul Area Chamber of Commerce, to the Workforce Innovation Board of Ramsey County.

Missouri

Jacqueline Wayman, 90, of Albany, passed away April 29, 2021.  At the age of 56, she began a new career by organizing the first Economic Development Department for the City of Albany in 1985. She was instrumental in bringing Tempmaster to Albany to manufacture large air conditioners. This business continues today as Johnson Controls.

Houston’s economic development director has resigned.  Rob Harrington, who oversaw economic development, some special projects and grants, accepted a similar job with the City of Fort Scott, Kansas.

Nebraska

York County Development Corporation is marking National Economic Development Week from May 9-15, to celebrate the contributions of positive economic development and explain the role of the profession in our local community. (Lisa Hurley)

The US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced today that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $3 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to the city of Holdrege, Nebraska. The grant is to construct water, sewer, and street improvements to support business development at the Iron Horse Industrial Park.

After three long years of development, expansion and hard work, Goshen Main Street has received National Main Street certification. (Sandy Hoehn)

New Jersey

Jorge Cruz, a 30-year veteran of community investing who most recently served as chief external affairs officer with New Jersey Community Capital, is the new executive director of LISC Greater Newark, the local arm of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

New Mexico

Silver City MainStreet And Deming Luna County MainStreet received Resilient Communities Fund grants to aid economic recovery efforts.

Intel will invest $3.5 billion in its New Mexico operations and hire more than 700 new workers to create a domestic hub for advanced semiconductor manufacturing at its fabrication facility in Sandoval County.

National Economic Development Week (May 9-15) will not go unnoticed by the City of Deming and its Deming-Luna County Economic Development Center.

New York

A new searchable database of economic development projects in New York state allows the public to see the details of projects receiving support from Empire State Development.

North Carolina

The Chamber for a Greater Chapel Hill-Carrboro recently hosted the Regional Economic Development Forum, which unpacked what the Research Triangle Region is and why it matters for us to be part of this globally renowned, multicounty region. (Aaron Nelson)

Randy Hunt is the new city of Eden economic development specialist. Hunt will be responsible for developing, coordinating and implementing a program designed to recruit new businesses and retain existing businesses in the city.

John Cotton Dean became the new economic development manager for the Sanford Area Growth Alliance on Monday.  Dean is replacing former manager Michael Smith, who stepped down in January to become president of the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation.

The NC Department of Commerce Main Street & Rural Planning Center recently announced the launch of the NC Main to Main Trail, a tourism-based economic development initiative designed to leverage North Carolina’s regional, cultural and natural assets for prosperity in Main Street communities statewide.

Amazon plans to build a delivery station in Fayetteville next year. (Robert Van Geons)

Ohio

Waterville officials are considering establishing a downtown redevelopment district to encourage economic development within its historic structures. (David Robinson, principal at The Montrose Group)

The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Dayton Development Coalition hosted a virtual kick-off attended by more than 155 regional leaders, stakeholders and others to start drafting a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Oklahoma

Tulsa Economic Development Corporation launched a mentor program for minority business owners.  (Ciore Taylor)

Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf congratulated and praised the public service of five Department of Community and Economic Development employees for the efforts to ensure that individuals and local governments had access to critical funding resources offered through DCED. (Sarah Smith, Kris Adams, Rene Wood, Christina Kurtz)

The Wolf Administration released a new economic impact report for Pennsylvania’s agriculture industry, in coordination with Team Pennsylvania and eConsult Solutions Inc.

Cross Farm Lane will open a new contract pharmaceutical manufacturing facility in York County. CFL received a funding proposal from the Department of Community and Economic Development  for a $500,000 Pennsylvania First grant, a $200,000 workforce development grant to help the company train workers, a $2 million Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority loan, and was encouraged to apply for the department’s Manufacturing Tax Credit program. (York County Economic Alliance President and CEO Kevin Schreiber)

The Greater Erie Economic Development Corporation and the Erie Community Foundation each have contributed $1 million to create a new "We Believe in Erie Fund.” The two nonprofits will raise another $1 million for the fund intended to bridge economic gaps and racial divides. (Gerald Blanks)

“We are in a competition for business investment, for talent and now for state and federal investment,” said Matt Smith, president of the Greater Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce.

The Schuylkill Economic Development Corp. president provided updates on past, current and future projects and initiatives in the county during the Northeast PA Manufacturers & Employers Association's annual current and future state of Schuylkill County economic development roundtable on April 27. (Frank Zukas)

As the nation continues to face a reported 500,000 unfilled jobs in the manufacturing industry, students from across Chester and Delaware Counties were recognized for their work showcasing local manufacturers in the “What’s So Cool About Manufacturing?” student video contest by the Chester County Economic Development Council’s Manufacturing Alliance of Chester & Delaware Counties. (Gary W. Smith)

South Carolina

The Greenville City Council held two public hearing for requests for economic development and tax incentives before the city council meeting.

The town of Bluffton has begun creating an updated comprehensive plan.

South Dakota

A task force has been created in Baltic to help plan for commercial development in the town of 1,100 people nestled between Sioux Falls and Dell Rapids.  The Baltic City Council has hired Sioux Falls-based Sioux Metro Growth Alliance to begin the study. (Jesse Fonkert)

Tennessee

The Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce has won a prestigious award for excellence in economic development for the second year in a row.  The Mac Conway Award for Excellence in Economic Development, presented by Site Selection Magazine, is awarded to the nation’s top 20 local economic development organizations for their work to bring prosperity to their communities.

Lending Solutions, Inc. will establish new operations in Knoxville.  LSI will invest $2 million and create 265 new jobs to open a call center which will operate primarily as a training center for new employees. Once trained, the new employees will be approved to work from home. (John Bradley)

The Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County and the Greater Memphis Chamber have been recognized nationally, receiving an economic development award for the second year in a row. (Reid Dulberger)

In special-called Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council board meeting, executive director Frank Tate was fired.

A pledge for racial equity developed by the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce has drawn about 40 business leaders' signatures, as well as some criticism that the work falls outside the mission of the economic development organization.

Texas

Rockport tourism, hospitality build momentum coming out of pandemic, post-Harvey. The tourism and hospitality money from outside Rockport-Fulton is huge, said Barbara Gurtner, marketing coordinator of the Aransas County Partnership Economic Development Corporation.

Mesquite approves zoning and tax incentives for 2.3M square foot industrial park.  The project is anticipated to create 1,625 jobs with the help of a $130M capital investment.

Large mixed-use development could bring thousands of new homes to New Braunfels area. Chester Jenke, vice president of economic development with the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation, said the area is prime for mixed-use, commercial and industrial development.

Hutto City Council voted 5-1 to remove Chairman Steven Harris from the Hutto Economic Development Corp. Harris' term was set to expire June 30.

Grand Prairie voters said yes to the $75 million dollar Economic Development bond. The funds are expected to be split in the following ways: $50 million for development of conference hotel facilities in Epic Central; $15 million for restaurant shells in Epic Central; the balance would be invested in downtown with funds spent to purchase land and buildings for economic development.

The city of Celina is marking National Economic Development Week, May 9-15, to celebrate the contributions of positive economic development. “As the fastest growing city in North Texas, we are excited to participate in National Economic Development Week,” said Alexis Jackson, director of Economic Development in Celina.

An Inside Look at the Greater San Marcos Partnership: In this podcast an interview with Jason Giulietti, President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership.

A Middle Eastern company that signed a lease last week to build a factory in Beeville could bring hundreds of jobs and new residents to the South Texas town of 13,000. The promised fire equipment factory could be a game changer for Bee County and its county seat of Beeville if 400 promised jobs are delivered. The county has no private companies among its top 10 employers. (Bee Area Partnership CEO Randy Seitz)

Paris Economic Development Corp. to remain on firm financial footing. (Maureen Hammond)

Virginia

Shenandoah County shares stories from local businesses for National Travel and Tourism Week.

The Loudoun Economic Development Authority’s second annual Innovation Challenge opened grant applications this week.  Last year’s 71 applicants resulted in 22 business expansions, creating 169 jobs and investing $14.8 million into Loudoun’s economy. (Buddy Rizer)

Washington

The City of University Place’s Economic Development Advisory Commission announced that Michael Gruener, production manager for U.P. Refuse and Recycling, is the group’s new chair and U.P. resident Joshua Koontz will serve as vice chair.

Attorney Heather Burgess shared her experiences as Thurston Economic Development Council board member. Plus: Thurston Strong delivers for small businesses and nonprofits.

Wisconsin

The Vernon Economic Development Association will hold its 2021 annual meeting online by Zoom on Wednesday, May 19 at noon. Sue Noble, VEDA executive director, will share the non-profit organization’s work and accomplishments over the past year, and guest speaker Christina Dollhausen, Vernon County Economic Development coordinator, will give an update on county activities.

Wyoming

The Green River City Council declared May 9-15 National Economic Development week in Green River after approving a resolution at their Tuesday night Council meeting.  Green River Mayor Pete Rust said: “The Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition, led by Kayla McDonald, and the Travel and Tourism, led by Director Jenissa Meredith, have and continue to do great things promoting the quality of life we all enjoy in Green River and Sweetwater County.”

The Forward Sheridan and Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce board of directors have announced that the activities and mission of Forward Sheridan will be transitioned to the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, effective this month. Forward Sheridan was formed in 2005 to serve as Sheridan County’s primary economic development organization. (Dixie Johnson)


Canada

Mary Moran, who's led Calgary Economic Development for almost six years, is retiring effective immediately.  Moran was named to replace Bruce Graham as president and CEO of CED in June 2015 after five years as the organization’s vice-president of marketing, communications and research.

The Town of Latchford will be applying through FedNor’s Economic Development Initiative for an economic development intern for a 20-month term.


Thanks for reading. Be sure to send errors, corrections, and news updates to [email protected].

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Dane Carlson

Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas. Previously: World's first business blogger.