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20 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from almost a hundred economic developers in 37 states, and Canada. Issue # 20

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
17 min read
20 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon / Unsplash

Welcome to the 20th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

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Alabama

The Growing Alabama Commission has approved $5.5 million for the South Alabama Mega Site for additional site improvements. That includes the construction of an on-site rail spur on the existing rail bed and construction of a wye, connecting the on-site rail spur to the CSX mainline. Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance will retain ownership of the site until the project is complete, as required by law to participate in the Growing Alabama Tax Credit program.

Josh Johnson is the new economic development director for the City of Prattville.

Arizona

Melissa Johnson has joined the Arizona Association for Economic Development as its director of development and member engagement. (AAED Executive Director Carrie Kelly)

Arkansas

Toby Teeter has been named the inaugural director of the Collaborative, the new University of Arkansas education and research presence and catalyst to propel the state’s innovation ecosystem in Bentonville. Teeter joins the U of A after serving as president and CEO of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce since 2018. In this role, he managed economic development, fostered a robust entrepreneurial ecosystem, championed innovation culture and attracted both talent and new industry to the Joplin area.

Colorado

The U.S. 36 corridor could soon see hundreds of new jobs as the Colorado Economic Development Commission approved millions of dollars of performance-based tax incentives for a trio of yet-to-be-identified companies eyeing Broomfield and Boulder counties for expansion. It is the commission’s practice not to identify companies the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade is recruiting until incentives are accepted.

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Executive Director Patrick Meyers announced today that Hana Sayeed has been named Deputy Director of Economic Recovery and Deputy State Recovery Officer. The Office of Economic Recovery and Relief is a newly established unit within OEDIT that will support economic recovery in the State of Colorado through the planning, development, and rollout of American Recovery Plan Act, CARES Act and State Stimulus funding.

The Roaring Fork Valley region was one of 16 areas of the state to receive a tech assistance grant meant to aid rural communities in driving economic relief, recovery, diversification and long-term resilience. The Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade announced on June 10 that the 16 regions were named participants in the Colorado Rural Resiliency and Recovery Roadmaps program, which is funded by a $2.3 million grant from the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Florida

St. Petersburg College is building a space that will let entities develop what many began doing for the first time last year: looking at economic development through an equity lens. The college is revamping what was a former technology lab to house the Center for Economic Impact and Inclusion in its downtown center. The roughly 1,000-square-foot space will take around $100,000 to $200,000 to outfit, according to Tashika Griffith, provost of the SPC downtown and midtown centers.

A consent agenda item to confirm James Coats as the new Economic Development Manager for Alachua County turned into a discussion that lasted nearly two hours at the July 17 Alachua County Commission meeting, ultimately ending in a vote against confirming him.

Georgia

The Georgia Department of Education recently accepted the Liberty County School System into the 2021-2022 Economic Development Partnership Designation program. The EDP is a district-wide certification process which prepares school districts to adopt best practices and behaviors to support economic development, strengthen programs, and align education with key regional industries.

Illinois

Glenview village trustees provided feedback and took their first of two votes to accept an economic development strategic plan at their Tuesday, July 6 village board meeting. The plan covers five commercial corridors within the village and pays special attention to economic development in downtown Glenview. The presentation was made by consultants CallisonRTKL and subcontracted consultants, the firm of Ricker Cunningham. The process to craft the economic development strategic plan began in October 2020. (Village Development Director Jeff Brady)

Indiana

Civic leaders in Spencer County discussed on how the county could better leverage its assets and deliver unprecedented growth and opportunity to area businesses and residents. The conversation was led by Dan Zuerner, the vice president at Garmong Construction Services. He was brought into the discussion to analyze what the county can do to elevate their economic development and position.

A new digital printer will help Primex Design and Fabrication grow its product line and customer base. The Richmond company had asked the Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County for help with that $1.3 million investment. The EDC board Monday approved a $20,000 Economic Development Income Tax Grant for Primex. Primex may apply the money toward the purchase of equipment and/or employee training. (Valerie Shaffer, President)

Madison County economic development officials are hoping to receive up to $10 million in the state’s regional city program. (Clayton Whitson, president of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce)

Iowa

It’s always been part of Jasmine Almoayyed’s plan to get back to Kirkwood Community College. After serving as the city of Cedar Rapids’ first economic development manager, starting in 2013, Almoayyed, 38, has left her position with the city to do just that.

Vermeer will hire 100 employees as the company adds a warehouse to its Pella campus. The Iowa Economic Development Authority board approved a $1.3 million sales tax rebate for the company's expansion during a meeting Friday. The industrial and agricultural equipment manufacturer also plans to renovate two buildings where it will train new employees and let customers and dealers try new equipment. (Karen Eischen, Pella Area Community & Economic Alliance executive director)

Riley Bleam is the new executive director of the Calhoun County Economic Development Corp. For the past eight years, Bleam has worked in various positions within higher education, including economic development assistant director for Iowa Central Community College.

The Pella Windows & Doors company plans to shift more window production to its southwest Iowa factory and hire 120 additional workers in Shenandoah. Company officials said they plan to move production of its wooden double-hung windows to Shenandoah from its factory in Macomb, Illinois, according to The Des Moines Register. The Iowa Economic Development Authority agreed to give the company a forgivable $200,000 loan to help pay for the move. In return, the company said it plans to spend $5.6 million on equipment for the new lines, and the new jobs will pay at least $20.58 an hour, state officials said.

Kansas

A planned pet food factory in Tonganoxie will benefit the entire county, a local economic development official said. Steve Jack, executive director of the Leavenworth County Development Corporation, talked about the planned Hill's Pet Nutrition factory Thursday during a meeting of LCDC's Board of Directors.

Great Bend Economic Development Inc. is starting to see its impact and financial status strengthen as more focus is spent bolstering the department. Over a year and a half into the new adventure, the majority of the city council seemed in favor at Monday's budget session of funding Economic Development an additional $100,000 in the 2022 budget.

Kentucky

The 22nd Annual Big Sandy Women’s Business Symposium will be held Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the Ramada Hotel and Conference Center in Paintsville. (Amanda Kelly, small-business training director for Southeast Kentucky Economic Development Corporation; Mercedes Maness, senior extension associate with the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky)

Louisiana

The Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Baton Rouge North Economic Development District, Build Baton Rouge, and Mayor Sharon Weston Broome today celebrated the establishment of an economic development district along the Plank Road corridor.

The Ponchatoula Chamber of Commerce hosted the Berries and Business luncheon this week at the Kiwanis Cabin in Ponchatoula. Don Pierson, secretary of Louisiana Economic Development, served as guest speaker.

Lafayette Economic Development Authority is holding an in person job fair August 4th.

Maryland

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation is now accepting applications from local nonprofit groups for a new state-funded $3.4 million grant program. The MoCo Economic Development Grant Program for Nonprofits will provide competitively selected grants ranging from $10,000 to $20,000.

The Calvert County Department of Economic Development will host an in-person job fair on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021. (Economic Development Director Kelly Robertson-Slagle)

Massachusetts

West Boylston resident Amanda Curtis recently joined the staff at City Hall as the Economic Development Coordinator.

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce recently announced the completion of a major community and business-based planning effort that resulted in a bold strategy to advance the economy of the region into the future, according to a press release from the chamber. The Regional Economic Development Plan, which was created by the chamber and its affiliate organizations with assistance from RKG Associates, a national economic development consulting firm, focuses on how the region should position itself over the next 10 to 15 years, according to the chamber. (Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO)

Michigan

Applications are now open for the Community Economic Development Association of Michigan Community Development Fellowship, a full-time, salaried role starting October 2021. (Cheboygan City Main Street and Downtown Development Authority Interim Director Katie Duczkowski)

The city of East Jordan unveiled the completion of its latest project — including a walkway spanning the Jordan River with the goal to provide a safe crossing for pedestrians — that's touted as a catalyst for connectivity within the city. "This project is a magnificent catalyst for future economic development on both sides of East Jordan," said Mary Faculak, president of the East Jordan Area Chamber of Commerce.

The Lansing Economic Area Partnership recognizes that advancing equitable economic development often means starting in the classroom. Investing in career preparation and college readiness prepares students to participate fully in the local economy. And more economic participation leads to more innovation, more ideas and more cash flow to local businesses. (Bob Trezise, president and CEO of the Lansing Economic Area Partnership)

Michigan’s latest job picture is not improving, but not worsening either. The state’s unemployment rate has remained unchanged at around 5% since February, which is lower than the national average of about 6%. Michigan’s economy has added jobs since February, but economists say that has come at the same rate normally seen in the spring. (Justin Horvath, CEO of the Shiawassee Economic Development Partnership)

Minnesota

The child care shortage was back on the New Ulm Economic Development Authority’s agenda.

The unemployment rate in Minnesota hovered at 4% for the second month in a row in June, according to new statistics from the state Department of Employment and Economic Development. (DEED Commissioner Steve Grove)

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development said it will launch its new Main Street Economic Revitalization Program on Aug. 3. This $80 million statewide economic redevelopment program will award grants to partner organizations to establish programs within specific communities that will, in turn, fund economic development and redevelopment projects. (DEED Commissioner Steve Grove)

The Crookston Housing and Economic Development Authority Board of Directors, now comprised of Mayor Dale Stainbrook and six Crookston City Council members, held an emergency meeting at 11 a.m. Friday, publicly announced around 9:30 a.m., to place CHEDA Executive Director Craig Hoiseth on administrative leave and appoint City Administrator Amy Finch interim executive director of CHEDA.

Mississippi

The University of Southern Mississippi, in conjunction with partner organizations across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, announced an initiative to place Mississippi on the global stage for blue economy-related work. This initiative – Gulf Blue – is poised to bring “Big Ideas Out of the Blue” capitalizing on the region’s geography and maritime resources and positioning the Mississippi Gulf Coast to lead the development of world-changing innovation. Gulf Blue pools the knowledge of research scientists, federal agencies, industry partners and entrepreneurs to further develop the region as a global leader in ocean- and maritime-related technologies. (Mary Martha Henson, Deputy Director for the Jackson County Economic Development Foundation.)

The University of Southern Mississippi, in conjunction with partner organizations across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, announced an initiative to place Mississippi on the global stage for blue economy-related work.

The U.S. Forest Service is transferring ownership of a parcel of land to a group that plans to develop a conference center and a 200-room lodge near a lake in southwestern Mississippi. Scenic Rivers Development Alliance said in a news release Friday that it had acquired about 150 acres by Lake Okhissa. Money for the purchase came from the state.

Missouri

In a memo to Mayor Tishaura O. Jones’ administration, the St. Louis City Counselor outlined federal eligibility concerns regarding Board President Lewis Reed’s American Rescue Plan Act bill currently at the Board of Aldermen. President Reed’s proposal for vote at the Board of Aldermen contains roughly $33 million for economic development corridors, but US Treasury guidelines prohibit spending ARPA funds on economic development purposes.

A Community Improvement District has been approved for the Flower City, bringing potential to attract new businesses, spruce up some existing properties and bring more residents to town. Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council, visited with members of the Palmyra City Council during their regular meeting this week talking about details for the proposal.

Nevada

A more holistic approach to economic development in Elko County is expected to follow this week’s separate workshops in Elko, Spring Creek and Jackpot. Gathering for the first time in a year and a half, participants in the Northeastern Nevada Regional Development Authority effort are reexamining goals in light of the coronavirus pandemic. (Executive Director Sheldon Mudd)

New Jersey

Last year, the NJ legislature approved a sweeping $14 billion corporate tax incentive plan to attract new jobs and business to New Jersey, revamping the state’s troubled economic development program that was allowed to expire in the wake of disclosures of widespread abuses and lax oversight. Since then, though, the state has yet to award any incentives. A bill amending the new law was approved earlier this month just months after he signed the new law, sparked in part by changes brought to the workplace in the aftermath of COVID. That bill loosened eligibility requirements in the program allowing companies to count workers no matter where they are located even if they are working remotely out of state. (Tim Sullivan, chief executive officer of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority)

New Mexico

Since the City of Clovis is so close to the Texas border, the community and the EDC expects economic growth after the New Mexico Governor signed into law legislation, legalizing adult-use marijuana in the state.

With Virgin Galactic making its highest profile test flight to date with boss Richard Branson aboard, it’s only a matter of time before paying customers get their chance and New Mexico realizes a dream that has been decades in the making. Former Gov. Bill Richardson is among those who have been watching the progress of the space tourism company, ever since he and his team recruited the British billionaire to New Mexico. (Rick Homans, former NM economic development secretary)

New York

L. Michael Treadwell, executive director of Operation Oswego County, reported that in 2020, projects assisted by OOC and the County of Oswego IDA resulted in the creation or retention of 304 jobs with over $76 million in capital investment associated with 82 new, expanded or retained facilities.

Fifteen small business owners are getting a boost from Livingston County Economic Development as winners of the latest Dream-O-Vate business competition. Bill Bacon, director of Livingston County Economic Development, said the contest is “a game-changer” for small business owners.

Economic development officials in Niagara County have approved nearly $500,000 in tax breaks for a Buffalo developer seeking a total of $2.6 million in public subsidies to open a small event center and a brewery and restaurant in a “highly distressed” area of Niagara Falls.

North Carolina

Red Bull's multimillion dollar beverage distribution hub is coming to Cabarrus County, bringing 413 “new, good paying” jobs. This is the largest economic development announcement in Cabarrus County history. (Machelle Baker Sanders, N.C. Commerce Secretary)

Buncombe County commissioners voted unanimously to enter into an economic development agreement with East Fork Pottery. The ceramic dishware manufacturer and distributor will receive economic incentives for its $2.38 million investment in its Asheville operations. (Tim Love, director Buncombe County Economic Development and Government Regulations)

The Board of Aldermen heard an economic development plan from Creative Economic Development Consulting at the monthly town council meeting.

Soon after Loren Hill's “retirement,” the Piedmont Triad Partnership named Hill as the regional economic development director for the Carolina Core.

Boone Area Chamber of Commerce released its second Economic Indicators Report, a quarterly examination of five key statistics within the Watauga County & High Country Economy. The report features a quarterly summary of local impacts by Dr. Harry Davis, North Carolina Bankers Association Professor and long-standing regional economist. (David Jackson, President/CEO of the Boone Area Chamber of Commerce)

The North Carolina Department of Commerce today released the Economic Development Strategic Plan for the State of North Carolina. The plan, titled, First in Talent, recognizes that investing in North Carolina'™s workforce is the key to building a more prosperous and resilient economy.

Pitt County Board of Commissioners heard a proposal to offer a client an economic development incentive equaling 80 percent of the net increase in ad valorem taxes for an eight-year period for real property. The company also would get a four-year incentive for personal property, equaling 85 percent of the net increase in ad valorem taxes. (Kelly Andrews, executive director Pitt County Economic Development)

The Wilmington City Council may spend $14,124 for VIP season tickets at Live Nation amphitheater. The tickets can be used for economic development, city employee performance recognition, and community development.

North Dakota

The Grand Forks Growth Fund can convert startup loans, through the Accelerate Loan Program, into equity stake, if the company proves successful. An agreement was made with a drone company named First-i. (Keith Lund, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Region Economic Development Corporation)

Ohio

Alex Fischer, the leader of the Columbus Partnership will step down at the end of the year. He will be succeeded by a leader who’s worked by his side the past 11 years: Kenny McDonald, the CEO of sister organization One Columbus and a nationally recognized economic development expert.

In an update to the Wood County Commissioners, Wade Gottschalk, executive director of Wood County Economic Development Commission, said that infrastructure and utilities play a large role in attracting companies like First Solar and Peloton.

Hillsboro City Council members and administrators heard updates, plans, and suggestions regarding economic development. Highland County economic development director Julie Bolender, said she considers “Highland County like a boat — we’re all in it, and there’s a seat for everybody,” but all the municipalities involved have to “row in the same direction” in order to succeed. (Kirby Ellison, city economic development coordinator; Lauren Walker, city economic development assistant)

Jim Hill, executive director of the Sidney-Shelby Economic Partnership, presented the annual update on economic development efforts in Sidney to Sidney City Council.

The Western Reserve Port Authority, Valley Economic Development Partners, Economic Action Group and the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber pitched Mahoning County commissioners on some uses for the county’s anticipated $42 million in American Rescue Plan funding.

A Pennsylvania consultant will begin a study to determine what business development would be best for the former Howden Buffalo property on S. Broadway. The Howden site has trichloroethylene (TCE) and polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) contamination.

Oklahoma

City of Stillwater staff are looking at ways to encourage growth while protecting the city’s financial stability. (Melissa Reames, Deputy City Manager)

Oregon

Americold can buy the Nyssa rail shipping center for $1 after operating the taxpayer-funded property for 20 years under terms of an agreement struck between the Georgia-based conglomerate and the Malheur County Development Corp. Americold will pay $2,500 a month to lease the shipping center for 20 years, according to the lease. The rail center is designed to cut shipping costs for area onion producers and open potentially new markets around the nation.

The City of Roseburg’s Economic Development Commission approved grants in an effort to spur tourism in the region following a slowdown in visitors due to the coronavirus.

The Snake River Economic Development Alliance Board is seeking a new executive director as Kit Kamo goes part-time to ready for retirement.

Pennsylvania

Souderton Borough Council authorized the Montgomery County Planning Commission to prepare a "Souderton Borough Revitalization and Economic Development Plan" and appointed a steering committee.

South Carolina

An as yet unknown economic development project could result in an investment of $66.5 million and the creation of 430 jobs in Florence County. The Florence County Council approved a resolution that will allow the county to move forward with a fee-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement with the company. The county council also moved forward The county council also authorized fee-in-lieu-of-tax agreements with QVC to grow its Florence facility and Pee Dee Electric Cooperative to establish its company headquarters in Florence County.

Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation announced the opening of Nephron Nitrile, a plant that will produce American-made, medical-grade nitrile gloves in West Columbia. The $100 million investment will create 250 new jobs. The operations will be located within an Opportunity Zone.

Global Location Strategies has welcomed Lindsay Diehl and Isha Somani as their 2021 spring interns.

Dr. Ashley Podhradsky has been named the vice president for Research and Economic Development at Dakota State.

Tennessee

Kingsport's 14-acre Stonegate site (once home to a Walmart) sat empty for nearly two decades, despite its designation as a redevelopment zone. Local developer Danny Karsthas been working to create an $18 million residential development on the site.

The Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce announced the promotion of Ben Barnett to serve as the new economic development Project Manager.

Texas

SpaceX began tweeting over the weekend that they would build a rocket-building plant next to their rocket-testing plant in McGregor. SpaceX employs 500 people at its McGregor testing facility, and likely will add hundreds more at its new rocket plant. Customized training programs of McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College can create an employee pipeline for SpaceX. (Andrew Smith, Executive Director of the McGregor Economic Development Corp.)

The Mayor’s Economic Partnership Group heard updates regarding area road projects. The budget for road repairs exacerbated by the winter storm has quadrupled from the normal allocation of $1 million to $4 million. (John Boswell, Corsicana and Navarro County Economic Development Director)

Brenda Hicks-Sorensen, CEcD is the new Economic Development Director of the City of San Antonio. Brenda most recently served as the Economic Development Assistant Director for the City of Fort Worth, Texas since 2016.

Phil Young, a former Mesquite councilman and economic development advocate, died at the age 79.

Cameron Cox, the Bastrop Economic Development Corporation’s former chief executive, has again filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the corporation and board members.

Kilgore Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Jana Russell gave the organization’s midyear report, citing new job and investment agreements as a sign of economic activity returning to, and sometimes exceeding, pre-pandemic levels in the Kilgore area.

Greater Waco home demand could rise with SpaceX's second McGregor plant. The Waco City Council learned the results of a staff-prepared housing study to shed light on supply and inventory quality. (Karr Ingham, Texas economist; Bradley Ford, City Manager)

Site Selection Group, LLC announced the promotion of Beth Land, MBA, CEcD to Senior Vice President.

Utah

Roberta Reichgelt has been selected as the new Director of Business Development for Salt Lake City Corporation.

State lawmakers passed House Bill 348 earlier this year, changing the name of the Governor’s Office on Economic Development, or GOED, to the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, or Go Utah.

Virginia

CNBC ranked Virginia as the No.1 state in the U.S. for business in 2021. According to CNBC, Virginia’s greatest strength prior to and coming out of the pandemic has been its ability to “nurture and retain talent.” (Victor Hoskins, President and CEO Fairfax County Economic Development Authority)

Washington

The Thurston Economic Development Council will be hosting its first-ever Hootenanny -- an outdoor barbecue party. Economic Courage Awards are planned for businesses that have shown resilience and creativity despite the challenges brought by the pandemic.

The Shiplap Quilt Shop and Coffee House, with the assistance of Thurston Economic Development Council, has secured a location in Tenino. (Michael Cade, Executive Director Thurston Economic Development Council)

West Virginia

The City of Beckley is open to creating TIF districts within town limits. A new shopping mall is being built in South Charleston under a TIF district agreement. (Todd Hooker, State Deputy Director of Business and Industrial Development)

Some exciting projects — including, potentially, an off-road vehicle manufacturer — are on the horizon, according to an update presented by the Boone County Economic Development Authority to the county commission. In fact, Economic Development Director Kris Mitchell wasn’t able to attend that regular Boone County Commission meeting because she was engaged with said manufacturer.

Wisconsin

The Grantsburg Industrial Park is spooling up for expansion after U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo’s announcement last week that the Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.4 million grant to the village of Grantsburg to construct road, water and sewer infrastructure to support expansion of the North Industrial Park and promote manufacturing sector growth.

Sue Noble, Executive Director Vernon Economic Development Association reported her 2020 economic development highlights.

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) say that some of the biggest problems today are employee recruitment and retention. (Missy Hughes, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation Secretary and CEO)

The Urban League of Greater Madison has received two grants totaling nearly $600,000 to support underrepresented entrepreneurs and job seekers. (Ruben Anthony, Urban League President and CEO)

Wyoming

The Sweetwater Economic Development Coalition recently submitted a County wide marketing proposal to the executives of TerraPower and PacifiCorp to aide in the selection process of recruiting the Natrium Nuclear Facility to Sweetwater County. The $4 billion project will generate 150 to 200 jobs. (Devon Burbaker, SEDC Advisory Board Chairman and Airport Director at Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport)

Canada

The Municipality of Lakeshore wants feedback from residents to help draft an economic development strategy. An online survey has been launched for public engagement until Aug. 6.


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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.