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1️⃣8️⃣ Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 38 states and Canada. July 7, 2021 edition.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
15 min read
1️⃣8️⃣ 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 login (for free) to read it, and then forward this to your friends and colleagues in economic development (especially, but not necessarily, those mentioned!)


Alabama

Wiregrass Economic Development Corporation is looking for a candidate to fill the executive director position, previously held by Jonathan Tullos.

Alabama House Majority Leader Nathaniel Ledbetter was elected chair of the Economic Development, Transportation, and Cultural Affairs Committee of the Southern Legislative Conference.

FreightCar America closed its Cherokee manufacturing facility and moved production to Mexico after receiving a $10 million Paycheck Protection Program loan. Layoffs affected hundreds of workers. With new businesses opening in The Shoals, there were options for those workers to find jobs. (Shoals Economic Development Authority President Kevin Jackson)

Arizona

The City of Mesa Office of Economic Development announced that Lori Collins, City of Mesa deputy economic development director, has been appointed as the new president of the Executive Board of Directors for the Arizona Association of Economic Development. (Bill Jabjiniak, Mesa Economic Development Director)

California

Solano County looks to boost economic growth and discretionary tax revenue. The county is exploring options it may have in the agriculture sector – including a review of Williamson Act contracts – to enhance agritourism. (Allan Calder, the county planning manager)

Colorado

The Morgan County Economic Development Corporation hosted a float-in movie event at Jackson Lake State Park. The event was held to bring awareness to Morgan County and tourism. Funds raised will be used for marketing. (Kristin Clifford-Basil, executive director for the MCEDC)

Rocky Ford's Economic Resilience Project looks to expand its workforce, provide training through the Small Town Project's Digital Equity Project, and help investors find opportunities in underutilized and currently vacant parcels or buildings.

Connecticut

Newtown is nearing an agreement to sell 8 acres of 'beautiful' land for commercial development. The land is being marketed for corporate headquarters, a research and development facility, or a campus of buildings “around a common theme.”

Florida

Niagara Bottling LLC is bringing a new manufacturing facility to Middleburg, with at least 55 new jobs with an average annual wage higher than the county’s average salary. The Board of County Commissioners approved incentive grants for the bottle manufacturing facility. (Clay County Economic Development Corporation)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced SBA Disaster Loans are available for small businesses impacted by the Surfside Condo collapse in Miami-Dade County.

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Economic Development’s Center of Innovation for Aerospace has announced a limited-time cybersecurity grant opportunity available for small and mid-sized defense contractors in the state. The grant will assist companies with meeting new cybersecurity compliance measures now required by the U.S. Department of Defense.

According to Fulton County's deputy director of economic development Samir Abdullahi, North Fulton has outperformed much of the metro region and the nation in unemployment and hiring. Largely due to the number of firms in IT and healthcare that are located in the region, there has been an increased demand for skilled talent for these employers.

Greenland

Greenland joined the Arctic Economic Council this month. Greenland’s economic aspirations fit well with the AEC’s focus on responsible development in the North.

Illinois

Aurora's Economic Development Office and Invest Aurora, the city’s not-for-profit economic development arm, are reorganizing ahead of post-pandemic economic development. The city is creating an assistant director of Economic Development and an economic development specialist, both of whom would join Economic Development Director David Dibo.

The Supreme Court declined to take up the appeal of a Chicago landowner whose property was seized by the city to allow the expansion of a nearby chocolate-making plant.

The Freeport city council will weigh the benefits of a marijuana grow operation in the community and if it means an economic boost to the region. Many local business owners say they are excited about the possibilities. Developers say the operation will bring in dozens of jobs and economic opportunities to the area, and help revitalize downtown Freeport. (Kirstin Hinds, Freeport Community and Economic Development Director)

Indiana

Amanda Rubadue, Vice President of Aspire Economic Development and Chamber Alliance, earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer.

The LaPorte County Commissioners, Town of Westville along with NorthPoint Development, the LaPorte County Council, and the Office of Community and Economic Development announced a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for NorthPoint Development’s Midwest Trade Center. MTC is the newest addition to NorthPoint Development’s extensive portfolio and represents an additional 681,000 square feet of Premium Distribution Logistics and Manufacturing Building space. Incentives were approved to make this project viable and sustainable. (Tony Rodriguez, Director of the LaPorte County Community and Economic Development Department)

Steuben County is gearing up for the fast-tracked program known as the READI Grants. The Indiana General Assembly funded the program. READI will attract at least $2 billion of local public, private and philanthropic match funding that will propel investment in Indiana’s quality of place, quality of life, and quality of opportunity. There are three preidentified categories of economic impact for the region’s application: workforce, downtown vibrancy, and entrepreneurship and innovation. (Isaac Lee, executive director of the Steuben County Economic Development Corp.)

The town of Avilla will be able to finish off infrastructure to its new industrial park thanks to a $1.3 million federal grant, $1 million put up by the town through TIF and CEDIT funds and $300,000 from the Noble County Economic Development Corp. The funds will make the remaining 40 acres of land shovel ready for new industry. This project is expected to create 70 jobs, retain more than 360 jobs and generate $7.8 million in private investment. (Matt Brinkman, Region 3-A Development & Regional Planning Commission Executive Director)

Governor Eric Holcomb will next week lead an economic development trip to Qatar. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. says the delegation will focus on cultivating new business relationships in the Middle East in an effort to advance innovation, investment and job creation in Indiana.

Shelbyville, Greensburg, Rushville and Batesville, along with Shelby, Rush and Decatur counties, have joined forces with their county partners to grow their communities and workforce talent. Accelerate Rural Indiana, a not-for-profit organization being launched by the cities and counties, will apply for a portion of the $500 million Indiana Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative planning grant and funding.

Two separate tax abatement requests that will bring or maintain jobs to German Township will go before the Bartholomew County Council this month. One request involves a new industrial building, while the other calls for the expansion of a current employer in the township. (Jason Hester, Greater Columbus Economic Development Corp. President)

Iowa

A locally beloved building in downtown the city of Nevada will get extensive second-story remodel after receiving a $100,000 grant from the Iowa Economic Development Authority.  (IEDA and Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Debi Durham)

Kansas

Governor Laura Kelly announced applications are being accepted for Kansas startups seeking investment through the Kansas Angel Investor Tax Credit program for 2021. The program offers Kansas income tax credits to qualified individuals investing in new Kansas businesses. Eligible entrepreneurs include those engaged in the development, implementation and commercialization of new and innovative technologies, products, and services.

Kentucky

The Barren County Economic Authority and Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce boards of directors unanimously voted to create a consolidated, streamlined organization to better serve their members and the Barren County area. Maureen Carpenter, who started with the BCEA in January 2020 has been selected as the president and CEO, taking on the leadership role for both the Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development. Ernie Myers, who has served as the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce executive vice president since 2012, will be retiring when the consolidation is completed in January.

Kentucky

More than $30 million in funding for the West End Opportunity Partnership will improve the quality of life in the California, Parkland, Chickasaw, Algonquin, Portland, Russell, Park Duvalle, Shawnee, and Park Hill neighborhoods. Tax Increment Financing (TIF) is a government tool that helps encourage economic growth in a certain area will be used to help navigate how the money will be allocated.

Maine

MidCoast Economic Development District will be holding a virtual workshop. They will discuss workforce needs, possible changes to the Comprehensive Plans, reviews of housing ordinances and different funding sources.

South Portland’s Economic Development and Sustainability Departments announced that businesses can apply for Economic & Sustainable Development Grant Program. It is divided into two grants, the Conditional Economic Development Grant and the Level 2 Electric Vehicle Charging Grant. The grants are congruent with the city’s One Climate Future Plan, a joint climate action plan between South Portland and Portland. (William Mann, South Portland’s economic development director)

Maryland

Earlier this month, Rosa Cruz, CEcD, Vice President of Communications at the Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation, and Tamar Osterman, CEcD, Senior Business Development Representative at the Maryland Department of Commerce, both earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD).

Massachusetts

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce held its annual Economic Development Forum where guest speakers focused on pandemic recovery efforts by businesses and the state. The Chamber introduced its new Shop, Stay and Eat Local business recovery video and also discussed the Chamber’s new restaurant assistance recovery program. (Michael Bevilacqua, MV Chamber Vice President; Lane Glenn, chairman of the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee; Sophan Smith, executive director of Entrepreneurship for All)

Michigan

Cleveland Cornerstone Alliance held a ribbon cutting ceremony and behind-the-scenes tour of the 20,000 square foot City Center Lofts project located in Benton Harbor, Berrien County.  Partners of the project include: The City of Benton Harbor, the Benton Harbor Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and Michigan Strategic Fund, and Cressy Commercial Real Estate. (Rob Cleveland, Cornerstone Alliance President & CEO)

Michigan

Michigan has been recognized as a top state in sustainable development practices by Site Selection magazine.  The ranking affirms Michigan’s commitment to green energy practices and social responsibility while continuing to be a state where businesses can succeed and grow. Site Selection’s rankings blend standard green metrics such as LEED-certified buildings, renewable energy use and green building incentives with unique inputs such as areas’ corporate social responsibility profiles, brownfield redevelopment, corporate facility investments in sectors with green connections.

The city of Kentwood received the Redevelopment Ready Community certification from the MEDC for its commitment to attracting new investors, businesses and residents through targeted and strategic planning and creating a vibrant community in partnership with residents. (Terry Schweitzer, Kentwood’s community development director)

The Bay County Board of Commissioners passed a resolution authorizing a county-wide Brownfield Redevelopment Authority by the end of 2021. BRAs determine which properties are eligible for re-development and identify financial incentives that could attract developers. (Laura Ogar, Director of Bay County Environmental Affairs and Community Development)

Mississippi

With new businesses coming to downtown Jackson in the coming months, city leaders hope to bring even more next year, thanks to a contract with a Memphis consulting firm approved by the city council back in January. Three buildings are undergoing renovation on Capitol Street alone. (John Gomez, Downtown Jackson Partners President)

The city of Madison is “redefining economic development” by merging the Chamber of Commerce with the Economic Development Department to create Madison Community Partners, Mayor Mary Hawkins-Butler announced this week. Former city economic advisor Steve Vassallo will serve as a consultant for the department. One of the big differences between the old chamber model and the new model is there are no membership fees or dues.

Missouri

Officials with the state of Missouri, St. Louis County, the City of Chesterfield, Missouri Partnership, the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership, Ameren Missouri, Greater St. Louis Inc., and Gateway Studios and Production Services (GSPS) today announced the planned construction of the largest entertainment production services and rehearsal facility of its kind in the U.S. The 32-acre, $111 million Gateway Studios development will include a 330,000-square-foot complex, employ more than 100 highly skilled music and film manufacturing and production professionals, and see the manufacturing, building, testing and launching of globally touring musical acts and movies. (Steve Johnson, chief business attraction officer, Greater St. Louis Inc.; Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon; Subash Alias, CEO of Missouri Partnership)

The World Trade Center St. Louis, the STL Partnership and Midwest Cargo Hub Commission partners hosted Missouri Governor Mike Parson, three of his cabinet directors and 30 other state agriculture, transportation and economic development leaders for a tour of the new Live Animal Export Facility at St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Chris Chinn, Director, MO Department of Agriculture, Rob Dixon, Director, MO Department of Economic Development, Patrick McKenna, Director, MO Department of Transportation were also in attendance.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $2.2 million grant to the city of West Plains, to make critical railroad infrastructure improvements to support job creation and economic resiliency efforts. This EDA project, to be matched with $3.9 million in other federal, state, and local funds, is expected to create 50 jobs and generate $31.4 million in private investment.

The City of Dardenne Prairie recently received the Community Impact award from Business Retention and Expansion International. (Ryan Kelly, Executive Director of Business Retention and Expansion International)

Montana

Christy Cummings Dawson will take over as Montana West Economic Development’s president and CEO this July following two years as the company’s government contracting advisor.  Dawson will replace Jerry Meerkatz, who served as president and CEO for the last five years.

Nebraska

Governor Pete Ricketts, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and the Nebraska Department of Agriculture are set to host the Nebraska Ag and Economic Development Summit on August 4, 2021, at the Younes Conference Center in Kearney.

Kim Matthews is Sidney’s new economic development director. She replaces Melissa Norgard who recently stepped down to focus full-time on her business.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority signed a memorandum of understanding with New Jersey City University in Jersey City to help advance New Jersey’s leadership in the online sports wagering technology and financial technology sectors. (NJEDA’s Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan)

New Mexico

Albuquerque ranks at the bottom in job growth when compared to city's similar in size. But now, Albuquerque Economic Development, a nonprofit group, wants to change that and put Duke City toward the top within five years. (Albuquerque Economic Development Director Danielle Casey)

New York

The Adirondack North Country Association Board of Directors announced Thursday that Elizabeth Cooper will succeed Executive Director Kate Fish, who has led the rural economic development organization for 12 years.

The Chautauqua County Department of Planning and Development is now accepting applications for the 2022 3% Tourism Product Development Grant Program. Interested groups or organizations have until October 1, 2021 to submit applications.

North Carolina

For decades, the Town of Chapel Hill has been skeptical of growth and the change that comes with it. But as the town emerges from the pandemic, it's making a concerted effort to attract new businesses, retain its local talent and invest in local minority-owned businesses. (Dwight Bassett, Chapel Hill's director of economic development)

Elkay Manufacturing, a leading producer of sinks and water delivery products, will expand its operations in Robeson County, leading to the creation of 20 jobs, Governor Roy Cooper announced today.

John Nelms, senior economic development manager for Duke Energy, has been elected as president of the N.C. Economic Development Association. Chris Platé, executive director of Monroe-Union County Economic Development, was elected as vice president.

North Carolina cashed in on Apple’s billions in expansion. (Ryan Combs executive director of the Research Triangle Partnership)

Roseburg Forest Products, an innovative U.S. forest products manufacturer, will create 137 new jobs in Halifax County, Governor Roy Cooper announced today. The company will invest a total of $200 million to develop a sustainable high-tech sawmill operation in the Town of Weldon.

North Dakota

The Minot Area Chamber EDC now has a new member joining the team. Former Minot Public Schools board member Mark Lyman will be taking on the new title of economic development specialist.

A student from the University of Wyoming has been hired by the City of Williston for a summer internship. Devyn Cox, age 23, began working for Williston Economic Development on Monday, June 21. Cox plans to graduate in the spring of 2022 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.

Ohio

Candle-lite Company, LLC announced it will create 82 new jobs, retain 618 jobs and invest more than $1.7 million in new machinery and equipment at its candle production facility in Leesburg. The expansion is being supported by a tax credit from the Ohio Development Services Agency and a strategic partnership between JobsOhio and OhioSE to bolster the company’s talent retention and recruitment strategies. (Mike Jacoby, President of OhioSE)

Stephanie Bosco is Grove City's new economic-development manager. Bosco, who previously served as assistant director and then interim executive director with GROW Licking County Community Improvement Corp., began her Grove City position June 28. She fills the economic-development manager role that has been vacant since Dan Havener left the city in September 2020.

The Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green State University along with the Toledo Region CEDS Strategy Committee, is seeking public input on the 2021-25 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.

Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) has announced that Taylor Stepp, project manager, earned the designation of Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). He joins OhioSE President Mike Jacoby in that realm, who also earned the CEcD designation.

Oklahoma

Tulsa County awarded $3 million last month to TCF Greater Tulsa LLC, composed of community leaders and an entity of the Tulsa Community Foundation, for the administration of an incentive fund for direct-flight connections from Tulsa International Airport to large U.S. cities to support economic development and job creation, according to Tulsa County documentation. (Jeff Stava, manager of TCF Greater Tulsa and chief operating officer of the Tulsa Community Foundation)

City of Muskogee Foundation directors plans to spend $150,000 for an Austin, Texas-based firm, TIP Strategies Inc., to produce a holistic playbook that will be used to guide economic development decisions. (Industrial Development Director Marie Synar)

Oregon

The Rainer Economic Development Council passed its budget Monday night 3-1, allowing it to repay debts this year, after several budget committee and council members raised concerns about the transparency and accuracy of the documents.

Pennsylvania

Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding and Department of Community and Economic Development Deputy Secretary Carrie Fischer Lepore encouraged Pennsylvanians and tourists to support Pennsylvania’s small businesses and dairy farmers with scoops of happiness churned from Pennsylvania dairy.  Originally launched in 2018, the Pennsylvania ice cream trail is a partnership between the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, The Department of Community and Economic Development’s Tourism Office, and the Center for Dairy Excellence to support Pennsylvania’s more than 5,400 dairy farm families and the small businesses that source from them and offer a unique opportunity to explore the commonwealth by the scoop. (Casey Smith, Communications Director at PA Department of Community and Economic Development)

South Carolina

Governor Henry McMaster and the SC Department of Commerce today announced that E. & J. Gallo Winery, a global wine and spirits company, will build a new state-of-the-art production facility and distribution center in Chester County to support future business growth and its long-term innovation plans. The $423 million investment will create 496 new jobs over the next eight years. (I-77 Alliance Interim President and CEO Christopher Finn)

Texas

The Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation released findings of a new survey looking at how businesses are doing in our community. Ninety-two percent of local businesses surveyed by the BVEDC said they plan to hire more people by May 2022. (Matt Prochaska, Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation President and CEO)

Gov. Greg Abbott announced July 2 that Optimus Steel, LLC will establish a new rebar line and coil handling facility in Orange County, Texas. (Jessica Hill, Orange County Economic Development Corporation executive director)

The City of Denton and the Denton Chamber of Commerce continue to partner closely on economic development. (Jessica Rogers, Director of Economic Development; Cory Lacy, Vice President of Economic Development; Kendall Carlson, Economic Development Administrative Coordinator; Kay Brown-Patrick, Business Development Administrator; Christina Davis, Economic Development Specialist; Dan Rosenfield, Economic Development Analyst; Erica Sullivan, Economic Development Analyst)

Utah

The Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity announced the inaugural meeting of the Unified Economic Opportunity Commission.  This commission will convene stakeholders to develop solutions to the most critical topics facing our state’s economy. It will also review and create new economic strategies and programs to deal with timely topics. Other purposes of the commission include aligning economic efforts and incentive programs, helping support and align education and industry partnerships to strengthen the state’s workforce, and establishing subcommittees that serve as conveners to facilitate policy development. (Dan Hemmert, executive director)

Virginia

Amherst County officials recently passed an ordinance amending water and sewer regulations to improve business friendliness and promote economic development. The Amherst County Service Authority prioritized multiple action items to address recommendations from Amherst County Economic Development Authority.

Governor Ralph Northam announced that approximately $1.5 million in Site Remediation Grants from the Virginia Brownfields Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund will be awarded to six localities, which include Charlotte and Pulaski Counties, the cities of Danville and Martinsville, and the towns of Altavista and Crewe.

In June, Danville and Pittsylvania County announced two companies would be moving into the region. Danville Office of Economic Development Projects Manager, Kelvin Perry, recently explained the incentives each was offered.

Henrico County recently earned two Silver Shovel awards, Area Development’s annual program that recognizes U.S. locations that attract major investment projects and create substantial new jobs throughout their communities. (Anthony Romanello, executive director of the Henrico Economic Development Authority)

Washington

https://www.bizjournals.com/seattle/news/2021/07/02/tif-law-offers-new-development-tool.html

Washington state’s new tax-increment financing (TIF) law could boost economic development in Tacoma, but city officials say it’s still limited in scope and could leave the city on the hook for infrastructure costs. (Andy Cherullo, Tacoma Director of Finance )

Richard DeBolt, Executive Director of the Lewis Economic Development Council celebrated four months on the job.

The Lewis Economic Development Council is hosting a golf tournament on Friday, Sept. 17. The day of golf will help raise funds to power the newly-created micro-lending program, which assists small businesses with low interest loans during trying times such as the end of the pandemic. (LEDC External Relations Manager Eric Sonnenberg)

Wisconsin

A plan to develop tiny homes for homeless veterans on Milwaukee's northwest side is proceeding after obtaining an important part of its financing package.The developer, Veterans Outreach of Wisconsin Inc., has received approval for a $700,000 loan from the Milwaukee Economic Development Corp.

With Wittman Regional Airport's new terminal building officially open, local leaders hope the facility's economic footprint will grow. The airport already brings $210 million into the regional economy, with $170 million coming from the Experimental Aircraft Association's annual AirVenture fly-in convention and another $40 million throughout the rest of the year. (Tricia Rathermel, director of economic development for the Greater Oshkosh Economic Development Corp.)


Canada

Sustainable economic growth is a top priority for The Spelqweqs Development Corporation, a new organization that will act as the primary business arm of the Canim Lake Band.

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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.