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1️⃣7️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 32 states and Canada. June 30, 2021 edition.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
16 min read
1️⃣7️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News

Welcome to this week's edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.). Please forward this to your friends and colleagues in economic development (especially, but not necessarily, those mentioned!)

Alabama

Alabama Graphite Products will break ground in Kellyton on its processing plant in December. The Lake Martin Area Economic Development Alliance is already turning its attention toward attracting related industries in the battery supply chain. (Chad Odom, LMAEDA director)

The city of Hoover is working on plans to help revitalize two key shopping malls, The Riverchase Galleria and Patton Creek. The revitalization plans may include an entertainment district, restaurants and offices. (Greg Knighton, Hoover’s economic development manager)

Alaska

Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy announced the distribution of $3 million CARES Act funds for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute. (Jeremy Woodrow, ASMI Executive Director)

Haines officials and community debated the redevelopment of the Lutak Dock, financing options, and the future of the economy. Businesses and communities across Southeast Alaska and Canada have an interest in the renovation of Haines’ Lutak Dock. That’s because it’s a key landing for bringing goods from the Inland Passage to northwest B.C. and the Yukon. (Alan Weitzner, Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority)

Arkansas

For the sixth-consecutive year, Mike Preston, executive director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, will get a performance bonus of more than $50,000 in private funds from an affiliated nonprofit foundation. The commission's accomplishments under Preston's leadership during a particularly difficult year included managing programs that disbursed $156 million and resulted in the retention of 18,000 jobs. In the past year, he signed 47 incentive agreements that yielded 2,242 new jobs with a proposed average hourly wage of $20.87 and a capital investment of $830.9 million.

California

The City of Eureka is reconfiguring Eureka Main Street and Humboldt Made under its updated Economic Development Strategic Plan. Pending the upcoming retirement of Charlotte McDonald, who has led Eureka Main Street for 25 years, the Office of Economic Development will soon partner with the Eureka MainStreet Board to takeover the day-to-day administration and programming operations. Under the plan, Humboldt Made will receive city funding to provide a week-long intensive marketing and distribution workshop for City of Eureka-based artisans, makers, and business owners next spring. (Alanna Powell, Executive Director of Humboldt Made)

More than one year after its launch, the Long Beach Center for Economic Inclusion announced Byron Reed as its first president and CEO.

Colorado

The first new coal mine in Colorado in almost a decade fired up operations this month, marking a rare upturn in the steadily declining coal industry. The New Elk Coal Mine, west of Trinidad in Las Animas County resumed production of metallurgical coal used in steelmaking after being idle for nearly 30 years. (Wally Wallace, Trinidad’s economic development director)

Jenni Grafton was been named Director of the Adams County Community & Economic Development Department.

Connecticut

The Town of Berlin officially proposed a $500,000 Business Relief Program — an economic development incentive that would encourage business owners to upgrade the exterior of buildings and storefronts. The Business Relief Program would also enforce updated zoning regulations, which will ensure a cohesive theme along the different storefronts on Farmington Avenue while also allowing for some distinctive design.

A long-planned “heritage park” in Newtown with a welcoming pavilion, ample parking, and possibly several high-powered electric vehicle charging stations is getting rapidly closer to reality, as is the long-dormant development of at least one industrial parcel in the so-called “tech park” off Commerce Road.

Gov. Ned Lamont on Thursday signed legislation that would allow the Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp. to leverage state dollars to help finance large-scale economic development projects. The House and Senate voted unanimously to establish a $10 million grant fund that will be open to regional economic development corporations that meet eligibility criteria. By state law, the Department of Economic and Community Development each year must designate 25 distressed municipalities based on a combination of economic, education, demographic and housing criteria. The designated towns and cities are eligible for targeted state assistance.

City Manager John Salomone told the Norwich Community Development Corp. board of directors he recommended using $2 million of the city’s first $7 million in American Rescue Plan for building code upgrades and for the so-called “vanilla box” renovations to prepare storefronts for reuse. The proposal would revive a portion of the former 10-year $3 million downtown revitalization program that expired in April. (Kevin Brown, President NCDC)

Almost immediately after Gov. Ned Lamont announced, and defended, Philip Morris International’s move to Fairfield County from New York, the tobacco giant launched an advertising blitz touting its work to become “smoke-free” and how the state’s role in scientific research can help it reach that goal. Philip Morris International said it’s aiming for at least $1 billion in net revenue from “Beyond Nicotine” products in 2025, with possible products including respiratory drug delivery such as aerosols of aspirin.

Florida

For 15 years, Columbia County has attempted to bring drinking water to the Plum Creek-Weyerhauser-Mega Industrial Park. Millions of public funding dollars later, there is still no water or sewer at the 2,500-acre site. (Glenn Hunter, County Economic Development Director)

Shari Simmans, DeBary’s director of economic development, communications and government affairs, has been appointed to serve on the Florida League of Cities 2021-2022 Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

Cyrus Callum has been appointed the director of Volusia County’s Aviation and Economic Resources Department. The department oversees the county-owned and operated Daytona Beach International Airport as well as the economic development division.

Georgia

Cameron Barnhill is joining the Henry County Development Authority’s economic development team as a project manager.

Sam Young has announced his upcoming retirement from his role as Economic Development Director for Greene County, Georgia.

Idaho

Mayor Lauren McLean is recommending that commercial real estate broker John Stevens be appointed to a five-year term serving on the Capital City Development Corporation Board of Commissioners. CCDC is a public redevelopment agency that serves as a catalyst for quality private development through urban design, economic development, and infrastructure investment.

Illinois

The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County has released its May Job Analysis. They saw the continued stabilization of the local labor force. The unemployment count year-to-year has dropped by over 50%.

Quincy city officials are seeking to amend a decades-old economic development loan program to make it more accessible for commercial and retail applicants. The fund initially had been designed for manufacturing and wholesale transportation purposes. Loans will be eligible for existing industrial, commercial or service-related Quincy businesses; existing businesses located outside of Quincy considering relocation; business start-ups considering moving to Quincy; new or existing minority-owned businesses and new or existing female-owned businesses. (Chuck Bevelheimer, Quincy Planning and Development Director)

Members of the Evanston Economic Development Committee voted unanimously to recommend the City Council approve funding to Chicago’s North Shore Convention and Visitors Bureau. The action comes in the wake of a difficult year for Evanston’s economy and officials refiguring a strategy to revitalize the area post-COVID. (Gina Speckman, Executive Director)

Indiana

The Indiana Economic Development Corporation has issued guidance on the Exemption for Patent-Derived Income for individual income and corporate income tax purposes.

The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership has appointed Dominic Poggi as Indiana Small Business Development Center regional director. He will provide strategic oversight to create impact on the formation, growth, and sustainability of small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Iowa

State Representative Steve Hansen has been appointed to the Economic Development Authority Board in the Iowa House of Representatives.

The Cedar Rapids City Council on Tuesday approved the city’s standard tax incentives for FedEx to locate a massive $108.6 million warehouse and distribution center in the rapidly growing southwest quadrant that will create 434 mostly part-time jobs.  Based on the size of the investment, city officials estimate this will generate $16.3 million in total taxes over 10 years, of which $6.1 million will be rebated. (Caleb Mason, City Economic Development Analyst)

The city of Fort Dodge was awarded a $17 million state grant Friday that will help pay for part of the redevelopment of the Crossroads Mall site into a diversified retail, service and entertainment area called Corridor Plaza.

Iowa Economic Development Authority board awarded two Des Moines projects -- a soccer stadium and a hockey arena -- $50 million in Reinvestment District Program revenues. The Reinvestment District Program allows cities to keep a share of future state sales and hotel-motel tax revenues generated in the areas the projects they are sponsoring will benefit. The Legislature created the program to help developers build large-scale amenities that will draw crowds. (Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority; Jasmine Almoayyed, Cedar Rapids Economic Development Manager)

A beef-processing plant planned for Mills County will bring up to 750 jobs to the area and have an estimated annual economic impact of $1.1 billion. Cattlemen’s Heritage plans to build a $325 million, 1,500-head-per-day facility. From feed to fork, this project will support local farmers and ranchers while expanding the local and regional economy. (Marco Floreani, executive director of the Mills County Economic Development Foundation; Drew Kamp, president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce)

Kansas

Noble Health Corp announced today that it will explore the possibility of reopening the acute care hospital facility in Fort Scott, Kansas. The Kansas City company has engaged in a Cooperative Agreement with Bourbon County to conduct a feasibility study that could lead to the reopening of the hospital that closed in December of 2018. (Rob Harrington, Economic Development Director for Bourbon County.)

Unified Government Economic Development made a temporary exception to residency rule for economic development director, Katharine Carttar. She will not have to live in Wyandotte County while her husband, Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas is in office and under his own employment residency requirement.

The annual meeting for the Washington County Economic Partnership provided an opportunity to review the work of the organization over the last couple years, as well as to encourage more support of future economic growth.

Kentucky

Jenny Sand has been named director of economic engagement at Northern Kentucky University. She replaces Shelley Walter and will report directly to Carmen Hickerson, NKU’s assistant VP for economic engagement and government relations.

Greater Louisville Inc. announced the hire of Ben Pratt as the chamber’s newly created Chief of Regional Economic Growth and Senior Vice President. In the new role, Pratt will manage the regional partnership and GLI’s project pipeline. He will also work with local county partners, like Louisville Forward and One Southern Indiana, to attract new businesses to the region. Pratt will oversee GLI’s economic growth team, which includes Charles Helms, GLI’s Director of Economic Development. (Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, president and CEO of GLI)

Paris-Bourbon County Economic Development Authority will receive $2.3 million in assistance. The funding from the U.S. Economic Development Administration will help make roadway infrastructure improvements that will assist the expansion of the Paris-Bourbon County Industrial Park. (Lauren Biddle, Paris-Bourbon County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director; Gordon Wilson, Paris-Bourbon County EDA Executive Director)

Louisiana

Growth along the I-49 corridor in Opelousas is prompting the construction of a new wastewater treatment facility. The project is the result of a partnership between The City of Opelousas and The Central St. Landry Economic Development District. This new infrastructure asset will support the current commercial and residential growth happening in the area. (Bill Rodier, St. Landry Economic Development Director)

A Lafayette-based e-commerce company has bought two buildings at the former Fruit of the Loom factory site in St. Martinville. The small company, which employs 15, will use the space to store and ship products from various sellers along with its line of Mr. Pen products. (Jennifer Stelly, executive director of the St. Martin Economic Development Agency)

Maine

After more than four decades in public service, Dave Milan, Orono’s Economic Development Director, is retiring. Milan plans to keep busy lobster fishing with his son.

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree announced Friday three federal grants from the Economic Development Administration are coming to Maine’s First Congressional District, totaling an investment of $210,000. These grants will help support a long-term economic development framework in local Maine communities. Funding will be provided to Greater Portland Council of Governments, Midcoast Economic Development District, and Southern Maine Planning and Development Commission.

Maryland

The Smithsburg Town Council and Smithsburg Economic Development Committee are starting Smithsburg's first farmers market on Monday.

Maryland Economic Development Association (MEDA) members voted in a new board of directors for the 2021-2022 term during the 2021 MEDA Business Meeting and Spring Conference:

Massachusetts

Developersw NorthBridge Partners, plan to build a campus in Shrewsbury, NorthBridge and are also looking to build a 396,375-square-foot warehouse on a 60-acre site in Boylston.

The U.S. Economic Development Administration has awarded $1.3 million for infrastructure improvements at The Reactory Biotechnology Park in Worcester. That work will support future development on lots within the Reactory campus. The EDA project is expected to create 275 jobs and generate $110 million in private investment. When completely built out, The Reactory is expected to provide approximately 475,000 square feet of biomanufacturing space and a minimum of 475 new skilled jobs for residents of Worcester and Southern Worcester County. (Edward M. Augustus, Jr., Worcester City Manager)

The New Bedford Economic Development Council invited local businesses and community members to participate in a virtual “happy hour” forum Tuesday to hear input on how to increase tourism in the downtown area. Also proposed was the idea of a Benefit District which would be a portion of the downtown that would have management associated with the properties to provide programming management, housekeeping, keeping things clean, maintenance, programming and marketing.

Michigan

Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to announce economic assistance for projects. Statewide, the projects will create 350 new jobs in Michigan and retain 400 high-wage positions, support the state’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and facilitate transformational development projects in Southwest Michigan and the Upper Peninsula.

Cornerstone Alliance VP Christina Frank earned her Certified Economic Developer designation.

Missouri

Otis Williams, Executive Director of the St. Louis Development Corporation since 2013, has retired.

Montana

A bright neon sign that reads 'BUILD' in the lobby of the new Rock31 entrepreneur center says it all. Big Sky Economic Development hopes that Tuesday marked the first step for Billings’ future. With the demolition of this first wall inside the historic Montana Bank Building at the northeast corner of Skypoint in downtown Billings, a project years in the making can see the light at the end of the tunnel. “We’re 10 months away from opening a fresh set of doors into a new space for entrepreneurs to connect, said BSED executive director Steve Arveschoug.

Standing next to the grass-covered pasture on the edge of Hamilton that will someday house a commercial-scale vaccine manufacturing facility, Tonix Pharmaceuticals CEO Dr. Seth Lederman said the pandemic offered this country a lot to consider. On Thursday, Lederman sat down with a group of local officials to talk about the future facility and how it fits into a longstanding effort to turn western Montana into a biotech corridor. (Ravalli County Economic Development Authority executive director Julie Foster)

New Hampshire

A local real estate agent pitched the Lebanon Economic Development Commission on his idea to create a whitewater park in downtown Lebanon.

With the launch of ABQSites.com, Albuquerque Economic Development is hoping business owners looking to relocate or expand have all the right information at their fingertips. AED launched the site earlier this week and had 81 properties available to browse as of Thursday afternoon. (Danielle Casey, AED president)

New York

Marcia Cameron-Denton, Director, Economic Opportunity and Inclusion Programs at NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, earned her Certified Economic Developer (CEcD) certification.

North Carolina

Michele Querry will serve as the interim director for Crystal Coast Economic Development, effective Thursday, July 1.She will replace the current director, Don Kirkman, who is retiring Wednesday. Prior to her appointment by county manager Tommy Burns, she served as the administrative officer for economic development, which is a county department.

Growing container volumes and helping the state generate economic development activity around the Port of Wilmington are areas of focus for N.C. Ports over the next five years. Within its new five-year plan, the ports has a goal to grow container volumes by 50%.

In the first designation of its kind, five members of East Carolina University’s Economic Development Academy were named North Carolina Certified Economic Developers: Cliff Brumfield, executive director, Lincoln Economic Development Association; Cathy Barr, director of economic development, Ashe County Economic Development; Will Carter, director, Stokes County Economic Development; Mark Lawson, vice president economic development, Cary Chamber of Commerce; Candice Lowder, director, Stanly County Economic Development Commission.

Ohio

The Monday session of Napoleon City Council opened and ended the same way - with discussion on economic development. New CIC Director Jennifer Arps explained her vision for economic development in the county, and then council went into executive session to talk about potential projects. They also closed the meeting behind closed doors to talk more about economic growth.

The city of Kettering has hired a new leader for its economic development department. The city welcomed Amy Schrimpf as its new economic development manager. Schrimpf succeeds Gregg Gorsuch, who recently retired.

Stephanie Bosco is the new City of Grove City economic development manager.

Joseph Henderson, Economic Development Director for the City of Upper Arlington, was awarded his CEcD.

Taylor Stepp, CEcD, Southern Ohio Project Manager at Ohio Southeast Economic Development has earned a CEcD designation.

Oklahoma

The long-time chairwoman of the Medicine Park Economic Development Authority Jean Schucker has resigned.

Pennsylvania

Centro Hispano Daniel Torres Inc., the largest Latino led non-profit organization in Greater Reading and Berks County, has announced the appointment of Marcelino Colón Jr. as VP of Economic Development and Fundraising.

Mayor Paige Gebhardt Cognetti plans to devise a citywide approach to economic development.  Her administration recently issued public notices in The Times-Tribune of a request for proposals from firms interested in creating a strategic economic development plan. Six firms met Thursday's deadline to submit proposals. (Eileen Cipriani, executive director of the city's Office of Economic and Community Development)

The Roxborough Development Corporation has selected Michael Devigne as their new executive director. Devigne began work on June 21 and replaces James Harry Calamia, who served as executive director of the organization for more than ten years.

South Dakota

In the midst of a vigorous post-pandemic economic recovery, South Dakota companies are struggling to attract new employees from what has become a limited pool of potential workers. The huge number of recruited jobs and the reduction in available workforce are the latest wrinkles in the state economy caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to many unexpected consequences. (Tom Johnson, director of Elevate Rapid City)

Tennessee

White House and Robertson County have taken steps they hope will lead to a new business park that would yield hundreds, if not more, new jobs. The Robertson County Economic Development Board has three-year options with multiple property owners on about 200 acres off the I-65 White House exit. (Chief Economic Development Officer Margot Fosnes)

The Clarksville-Montgomery County Industrial Development Board is pleased to announce its new chairman: Khandra Smalley.

State Rep. Patsy Hazlewood, has secured $48 million in state funding for economic development initiatives and wage increases in the 112th General Assembly.

Tracy Buckley, Manager of Economic Development Programs for the Economic Development Growth Engine, was awarded her CEcD.

Texas

The Greater San Marcos Partnership recently hosted five of the best site selectors from around the country during their 2021 Texas Innovation Corridor Familiarization Tour. This tour, which is done annually, shows in-demand consultants why their footprint is a high-quality place to do business. It builds relationships that bring better projects and develops authenticity that becomes a resounding testament for companies looking to expand or relocate to our region. (Jason Giulietti, President)

Mark Mitchell, who served as the Chief Economic Development Officer for Partnership Lake Houston, is leaving for a lead position with Katz, Sapper & Miller in Indianapolis. He will serve as president of the firm’s subsidiary that manages location advisory and helps companies get state and local tax incentives. Mitchell has known the executive leadership at KSM for a few decades and said they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

The city of Dickinson has tapped its first city manager with a goal to focus on economic development. Theo Melancon, the current city manager of Dayton, was approved by a unanimous City Council vote June 22. He is expected to take over in his new position on Aug. 2. (Scott Jones, EDC director)

In the first public signal about redevelopment plans for the idled Gulf Greyhound Park property, the city council will convene a special meeting Wednesday to consider financial incentives to spur private investment at the site. (Alex Getty)

The Mesquite City Council received updates on June 21 regarding the growth of the city over the first quarter of the year from the Economic Development Center. (Kim Buttram, director of economic development)

The city of Marshall councilmembers approved a Chapter 380 Economic Development Agreement with the newly proposed Piney Park during Thursday’s city council meeting. (Rush Harris)

The Amarillo Area Black Chamber of Commerce is on a mission of economic development and improvement in north Amarillo by helping business owners, especially new business owners, obtain financing such as grants and loans.

Amanda Nobles, the former executive director of the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation, has been recognized this week by the Industrial Asset Management Council with the Mary Jo Hanover Award. Nobles retired June 2020 as the Executive Director of the Kilgore Economic Development Corporation.

Cameron Goodman, Managing Partner of Economic Development at City of Leander, has earned his CEcD certification.

Kate Silvas, Principal at The Silvas Group, has earned her CEcD.

Stewart McGregor, Business Retention & Attraction Manager at City of Grand Prairie, has earned his CEcD certification.

Amazon Logistics plans to open a 180,000-square-foot delivery station in League City early next year, bringing jobs and possibly speeding up delivery times for customers, the city and company announced Monday. The large commercial facility is in line with city efforts to shift some tax burden off of residential payers, officials said. (Scott Livingston)

Virginia

The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority will soon add two new seats to its seven-member commission, which has remained the same size since it was created in 1964. Virginia legislators and the governor approved a measure earlier this year allowing the change, which takes effect July 1 and will help meet diversity needs, officials say.

Stafford County Economic Development and Tourism Department in partnership with the Stafford County Social Services Department recently purchased $742,000 in meal cards and certificates from local restaurants. Launched earlier this year, “Stafford Cares” will provide those meal certificates to 3,800 Stafford Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients. “This program injects working capital into our recovering local restaurants and supports our community by providing meals to disadvantaged families,” stated Director John Holden, Stafford County Department of Economic Development and Tourism.

Traci Blido, the current Director of Economic Development for Bedford County, has been selected to lead the region’s workforce development efforts. The Central Virginia Workforce Development Board voted last week to name Blido as its next Workforce Development Director, following a nationwide search that attracted more than 50 highly qualified applicants.

Marc Nelson has been appointed as Roanoke's Director of Economic Development. (Lisa Soltis, Economic Development Specialist at City of Roanoke)

West Virginia

Gov. Jim Justice visited two facilities in northern West Virginia to mark economic projects impacting the region.

Wisconsin

A flood of economic development projects in Eau Claire that were abruptly put on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic struck, are back on.  (Aaron White, Eau Claire Economic Development Director)

The city of Wausau has named Elizabeth Brodek the new Economic Development Director, one year after Chris Schock retired from the position.


Canada

The Magnetawan Council has given notice that it’s not going to continue partnering with the Almaguin Community Economic Development. (Dave Gray, ACED director of economic development)


Updates & Corrections

Gabrielle Gould is the Executive Director of the Amherst Business Improvement District Inc. in Massachusetts.

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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.