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24 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 99 economic development executives and organizations in 44 states, Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
24 min read
24 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Patrick Fore / Unsplash

Welcome to the 24th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

Thanks for reading this opus!  Because of all the news in the economic development industry this week, this issue took more than 18 hours to produce. If you enjoy all my effort, please share with your colleagues in economic development.  If you'd like to reach out, please contact me. -Dane


Alabama

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development on Monday announced that the USDA is investing grants totaling $495,055 to support entrepreneurs and businesses in five rural Alabama counties, creating approximately 235 jobs.

The electric vehicle evolution that is taking place in the automotive industry is having a huge effect on Alabama’s economic development efforts. (Greg Canfield, Alabama Commerce Secretary)

Alaska

Lynxx Networks, a smart rural community provider, was recently recognized with the Partnership Award by the Juneau County Economic Development Corporation.

Arizona

The last of Casa Grande’s “zombie” subdivisions is finally being developed after lying fallow for 12 years. The subdivision was launched in the run-up to the Great Recession and then left unfinished when the housing market collapsed. (Richard Wilkie, City of Casa Grand economic development director)

Arkansas

Mississippi County voters passed a 10-year extension for the one-half cent sales and use tax for economic development.

Tens of thousands of immigrants helped to catalyze Northwest Arkansas's its development as it emerged as one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolitan areas. Brimming with optimism, it is wooing newcomers with cheaper housing, a world-class art museum, upscale restaurants and forested bike trails. But as much of the U.S. economy comes back from the coronavirus pandemic, the decades-long influx of immigrants that fueled such enormous expansion in places like Arkansas has begun to stall, posing challenges to the region and the country at large. (Nelson Peacock, who heads the Northwest Arkansas Council)

California

A residential development is underway in San Marcos. San Marcos Economic Development Director Tess Sangster said that when North City is finished, it will become the downtown that San Marcos has never had.

The nonprofit Downtown Brentwood Coalition, an all-volunteer group of downtown property and business owners who strive to improve downtown’s economic conditions, plan to hire a full-time director as part of a larger effort to become an accredited member of a nationally renowned, preservation-based, economic development organization. (Becky Bloomfield, DBC Vice President; Joshua Ewen, Senior Analyst City of Brentwood; Pete Jacoway; DBC President)

The Sonoma County Economic Development Board hosted a virtual conference called "Economic Perspective: BIPOC Impact."

Rural communities could own the solar, the wind, support system, this sort of thing so that while urban areas are purchasing the energy and consuming it, we're drawing resources back to rural areas,” said Keith Taylor, Assistant Economic Development Specialist in Cooperative Extension from the University of California, Davis; Gabriel Chan, University of Minnesota)

Canada

The County of Grande Prairie learned that it will receive $1.7 million in funding from the Province of Alberta to help with future resource road development. The money would be used to upgrade the south end of Resources Road near a proposed $2.6 billion methanol plant. (Reeve Leanne Beaupre, County of Grand Prairie)

$2 million in funding was announced for 96 Plus. The aim of this innovative startup SME is to produce high-purity, pharmaceutical-grade and food-grade ethanol. The repayable contribution will allow the business to cover part of the cost of acquiring and installing ethanol production equipment. (Élisabeth Brière, Member of Parliament for Sherbrooke and Parliamentary Secretary to the Honourable Mélanie Joly)

$3.5 million in federal support was awarded to the University of British Columbia's BioProducts Institute. This funding will support the development, scale-up, and production of sustainable bioproducts, such as filters, adhesives, lightweight materials, and personal protective equipment, by helping de-risk technologies and foster the commercialization of bioproducts and solutions.

The Ontario government is supporting an investment of $12.7 million by St. Francis Herb Farm to help strengthen local manufacturing, create good jobs, and attract investment to Barry’s Bay and the surrounding region. (Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade)

A new federal economic development agency focused on the Prairie provinces will establish an office in Thompson in the coming months. Prairies Economic Development Canada will replace Western Economic Diversification Canada in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, while a new agency – Pacific Economic Development Canada – will focus on British Columbia. (Mélanie Joly, Economic Development Minister; Jim Carr, Winnipeg South Centre MP and special representative for the Prairies)

Colorado

The Montezuma County Economic Development Team launched a survey that aims to measure the spending habits of Montezuma County residents. The survey will help the team to develop a better understanding of commerce in the region. The team is interested in what goods, services or industries residents feel might be missing locally.

Vail officials are working on a new plan, Destination Stewardship, with the intent of enhancing the town’s economy while preserving the natural resources on which that economy depends. The plan is part of a requirement to maintain the town’s status from Green Destinations as a Top 100 Sustainable Destination. (Mia Vlaar, Vail economic development coordinator; John Urdi, executive director of Mammoth Lakes Tourism)

“The role and influence of faith-based organizations have changed considerably from their high-impact, high-visibility days of the 1990s,” said Dirk Draper, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Chamber & EDC, “Collectively, they remain a vibrant industry cluster, but are neither the external face nor the brand of the city.”

Delaware

Dover city officials recently approved zoning language to open the Dover Mall into other warehouse and distribution uses. The new zoning language would only affect the Dover Mall, a 554,000-square-foot shopping complex next to the Dover International Speedway. (Kent Economic Partnership Executive Director Linda Parkowski)

The city of Milford is focusing on small businesses, and expanding as they navigate out of this pandemic. Sara Pletcher was hired three months ago as the city’s Economic Development and Community Engagement administrator.

Florida

After much speculation surrounding “Project Mango,” Leon County has announced that an Amazon fulfillment center is coming to Tallahassee. The county says the 630,000 square-foot fulfillment center is expected to open in 2022 and create more than 1,000 new, full-time jobs. (Vincent Long, Leon County Administrator; Holly Sullivan, Amazon’s vice president of worldwide economic development)

Georgia

Georgia set records for jobs and economic development investments during the last fiscal year despite the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly $11 billion in new investments during fiscal 2021, which ended June 30, represented a 46% increase over the last fiscal year, while 33,439 jobs created across the state beat the previous record by 5%. (Pat Wilson, Georgia Commissioner of Economic Development)

The sale of a Bryan County megasite announced in May officially closed on July 27, marking the largest strategic purchase in Georgia history. A total of $61 million went into the purchase and was made possible by the state reinvesting proceeds from the sale of a Chatham County Economic Development Site to Amazon. Bryan and Chatham County also contributed $9 million each and will be reimbursed later. (Anna Chafin, Bryan County Development Authority; Trip Tollison, CEO of the Savannah Economic Development Authority)

Idaho

In a last-ditch effort to save the Camas Prairie RailNet line to Grangeville, Clearwater Economic Development Association is applying for a viability study grant. (Eric Phillips, community economic development director Clearwater Economic Development Association)

Plans are moving forward to build a hub to support food innovators and entrepreneurs in Twin Falls. (Connie Stopher Executive Director Southern Idaho Economic Development)

Illinois

Gov. Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced the $250 million Back to Business grant program to support the continued recovery of small businesses across Illinois.

Community and Economic Development Director Rita Tungare and Economic Development Planner Ciara Miller are departing their positions at the City of St. Charles. The city is using the opportunity to reorganize parts of the staff including dividing the department into separate community and economic development departments.

Steve Gugliotta has been selected to fill the position of director of community development for Galesburg. He replaces Ryan Berger, who left the position in April.

The Burr Ridge village board of trustees voted unanimously to consider establishing a business development district in the downtown area. The district would be funded by a new 1% sales and hotel tax, the revenues from which would go toward further commercial development in that area. (Evan Walter, Village Administrator)

Chicago's Community Development Commission approved an additional $600 million in tax revenue to go toward redeveloping Cabrini-Green.

“Small cities and towns have an opportunity to emerge from the pandemic with a brighter, more prosperous future,” said Mark Sherman, Community Heart & Soul executive director. “Our seed grants accelerate the adoption of Community Heart & Soul so that more communities can use the proven model now, when it is needed most.”

Indiana

Proposals submitted by Madison and Jefferson County have scored well in the Regional Economic Acceleration and Development Initiative’s competition for up to $50 million in state economic development funds. (Wendy Dant-Cheeser, facilitator for Our Southern Indiana Regional Development Authority; Mark Wasky, vice president, Innovation and Strategic Initiatives for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Kevin Kellems, OurSIRDA)

Starke County Economic Development Foundation Executive Director Lisa Dan updated the commissioners on the status of the board and operations.

The Digital Crossroad Fiber Network along the Indiana Toll Road is being hailed as a "transformative" expansion of broadband that could boost economic development, increase internet speeds and expand high-speed internet access across northern Indiana.

Iowa

Grimes breaks ground on 40-acre outdoor sports complex, expected to spark $400M in development. (Brian Buethe, executive director of Grimes Chamber and Economic Development)

The Warren County Economic Development Corporation 2021 Annual Small Business Grant Contest is underway, offering a grand prize grant for an existing and a start-up business. Applications will be judged on the economic impact of the funds and how they will be used.

The North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation has partnered up with the Iowa Workforce Development and the Iowa Economic Development Authority to conduct a laborshed employment study in Mason City. (Chad Schreck, president and CEO of the North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation)

Kansas

The Greater Topeka Partnership says the International Economic Development Council has announced that GO Topeka has been recognized as one of 64 economic development organizations that are Accredited Economic Development Organizations. (Jeff Finkle, IEDC President and CEO; Molly Howey, President GO Topeka; Matt Pivarnik, CEO Greater Topeka Partnership)

The city of Basehor is rejoining the Leavenworth County Development Corporation. The LCDC has traditionally received funding from the county and city government and private sector members. (Steve Jack, executive director of LCDC)

Kentucky

Jody Lassiter is leaving his position as President/CEO at Develop Danville, Inc to become CSX Transportation’s Business Development Manager for KY, WV, VA, and MD.

Louisiana

Interfor Corporation plans on reviving the idled Georgia Pacific Sawmill located near DeQuincy. The $8 million project will create 170 new direct jobs. (George Swift, President and CEO of SWLA Economic Development Alliance)

Kelsea McCrary is Monroe’s new economic developer.

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority says that taxable sales for June 2021 are the highest on record for the month of June and the second highest month on record. Sales were reportedly 23.3 percent higher in June 2021 than in June 2020. (Gregg Gothreaux, President and CEO of the Lafayette Economic Development Authority)

Maine

After decades of nurturing a growing retail footprint, the town of Freeport is eyeing a transformation of its downtown area, with a shift to new residential developments and a more pedestrian-friendly atmosphere. (Keith McBride, executive director of the Freeport Economic Development Corp)

The group behind the proposed Caribou Riverfront Renaissance Committee is hoping to develop new parks and trails; attract small businesses and restaurants to the area; and want official committee status to start pursuing long-term solutions including a master plan.

Maine Preservation is excited to announce the launch of Drive ME Historic Tours in commemoration of Maine’s bicentennial. Ranging from 30 minutes to four hours, the interactive tours highlight historic homes and places that existed when Maine established statehood in 1820. (Steve Lyons, director of the Maine Office of Tourism)

U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King announced that 12 organizations and towns across the State of Maine have received a total of $4,855,281 to support economic development and infrastructure projects. This funding was awarded through the Northern Border Regional Commission’s State Economic and Infrastructure Development Investment Program.

Maryland

The Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation will begin accepting applications for phase two of its economic development grant program for qualifying nonprofits in the county. The program, will provide competitively selected grants ranging from $7,500 to $25,000, with possible additional grants of $50,000 or $100,000.

Massachusetts

Zach Boughner is the new economic development coordinator in New Westborough. Previously, he was a management consultant at McKinsey & Company.

In a partnership with the state Office of Business Development and MassDevelopment, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce will host state economic development officials for one-on-one appointments with local developers, manufacturers and business owners. (Kevin Kuros, Central Massachusetts director for the Office of Business Development; Rob Anderson, Vice President of Business Development for MassDevelopment)

A six-month study of the county’s public water and wastewater systems being conducted by the Franklin Regional Council of Governments will assess the systems’ resistance to climate change impacts, make recommendations to improve operations and prioritize investments. (Jessica Atwood, economic development program manager with FRCOG)

The City of Lowell appointed Yovani Baez-Rose as the new economic development director. Baez-Rose succeeds Christine McCall, who was promoted to assistant city manager and director of planning and development in May.

Michigan

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy recently awarded $4.6 million in brownfield grants and loans to five redevelopment projects on contaminated properties in West and Southwest Michigan.

The Grand Blanc community is raising funds to construct a Perry Center Centennial Pavilion to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Grand Blanc Community School building. If the effort reaches its goal of $26,000, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation will match its funding through its Public Spaces Community Places program. (Michele Wildman, MEDC Senior Vice President of Community Development)

Comerica economists forecast: “We expect to see state GDP throttled back through the third quarter of this year, and then increase strongly late this year and early next year as production catches up to demand. This will put downward pressure on Michigan’s unemployment rate, potentially tightening it to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2022.”

Minnesota

Worthington leaders debated whether or not non-profits should be allowed in commercial zones. (Jason Brisson, Assistant City Administrator/Economic Development Director)

The Mid-Minnesota Development Commission is hosting input sessions as part of the process to develop a new Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the four-county region.

Mississippi

John Rounsaville, head of the Mississippi Development Authority, is resigning effective Aug. 31.

Missouri

The Economic Development Administration is awarding a $2 million grant to the city of Sikeston, to support development of the South Industrial Park.

Springfield city officials recently announced a new department called the Economic Vitality Department. City officials say the new department was created to help entrepreneurs by expanding, growing, and retaining local businesses and companies. (Matt Morrow, President and CEO Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce)

Emily Breedlove joined the St. Louis Development Corporation as the inaugural Executive Director of TechSTL. She is tasked with launching the regionwide initiative to bolster the entrepreneurial ecosystem through leveraging technology-based opportunities and making innovation more inclusive across the St. Louis MSA. (Neal Richardson, Executive Director of St. Louis Development Corporation)

Montana

The Montana Department of Environmental Quality, Great Northern Development Corporation, and Snowy Mountain Development Corporation are pleased to announce the EPA has awarded a total of $1 million in brownfields redevelopment funding to two Montana community economic develop corporations. (Tori Matejovsky, Executive Director Eastern Montana Brownfields Coalition)

Nevada

Andrew Haskin has taken the reigns of the Lyon County Community Development Director. Andrew has come to Lyon County with a strong background in economic development. He spent almost 8 years with the Northern Nevada Development Authority.

New Hampshire

Ten rural New Hampshire towns and organizations will split more than $4.5 million for economic and community development projects. The funding from the Northern Border Regional Commission was announced Monday by the state’s Democratic Congressional delegation.

New Jersey

The Marlboro Township's Economic Development Committee is looking for volunteers to help with their mission of attracting, retaining, and growing businesses in town. The committee helps businesses move through the process of opening, relocating or expanding and to help identify and leverage business opportunities.

After new data showed New Jersey’s warehouse boom continues unabated, advocates renewed calls for state or regional control over where they can be built and for limits on local authority of the process. Opponents of the current surge in warehouse construction say it can only be controlled by handing more authority to county, regional or statewide bodies. They can set policies that recognize that the impact from such buildings spreads beyond the individual towns that currently decide whether a warehouse can be built and under what, if any, limitations. (Tim Evans, director of research at New Jersey Future)

A federally-funded study is set to look at the development potential for Woodbine Airport, which once served as a Navy training facility in World War II and now primarily is used for small, privately-owned aircraft. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development office has awarded Woodbine a $78,500 Rural Business Development Grant to study the airport infrastructure with an eye toward economic development.

New Mexico

A Southern New Mexico company that grows algae for use in Omega-3 nutrition products has been awarded economic assistance to expand its processing operations and create jobs, New Mexico Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes announced

New Mexico’s small towns have been reinventing themselves through the state’s endless outdoor recreation opportunities. Historical mining and extracting industries have been declining since the mid-20th century from the influx of cheap internationally sourced labor and sources for precious metals. This has left many mining communities reeling from the change in demand. While many small former mining towns continue to struggle to adapt to a radical shift in their economy, others have embraced their isolated locations to lure adventure seekers and nature lovers. (Questa Economic Development Fund Director Lynn Skall)

The Clovis city commission on Thursday paved the way to include retail as an eligible category of economic development dollars. The Nov. 2 general election ballot will include a question as to whether Local Economic Development Act dollars, collected as an increment of gross receipts taxes, can be used to recruit and retain retail businesses. Senate Bill 49, which went into effect July 1, allowed communities of 35,000 or more to make that change. City Attorney Jared Morris told the commission voter approval is required to make that change official.

Anne Haines’ passion for helping small businesses from marginalized communities succeed started early. The founder and CEO of the Albuquerque-based community development financial institution Dreamspring said she saw the impact of barriers to economic access firsthand when she moved into public housing in New York City with her family as a child. During a presentation hosted by the Economic Forum of Albuquerque last week, she recalled seeing her talented, well-educated neighbors stymied by poverty and cycles of violence.

Tim Morgan has been named vice president of economic development at New Mexico Partnership. Most recently, Morgan worked as the City of Maple Valley’s economic development manager.

New York

Shinnecock Indian Nation tribal members on Saturday approved a measure that could fuel an economic boom for the Southampton tribe: to move forward with construction of a 200-room hotel-resort at the tribe’s Westwoods property in Hampton Bays. The tribe’s economic development arm, Shinnecock Sovereign Holdings, has been vetting hotel proposals from bidders for months, and has discussed the general plan for a hotel with some public officials, who have been supportive, as have tribe members.

The New York City Inclusive Growth Initiative -- an effort organized by three major nonprofit groups -- this week released a “blueprint” of 50-plus recommendations for the next Mayor and City Council to guide an equitable recovery from the devastating covid pandemic. Noting the propensity for change during times of crisis and the history of disasters like Hurricane Sandy and the 2008 financial crisis that only worsened existing disparities, the Inclusive Growth Initiative report calls for an incoming city government that puts low-income New Yorkers, immigrants, and communities of color at the center of recovery initiatives and future growth. (Jose Ortiz, Jr., CEO of New York City Employment and Training Coalition)

The Adirondack North Country Association invites North Country businesses to enroll in free technical services through its Center for Pandemic Response, a new program designed to help businesses build resilience in the wake of the COVID-19 economic crisis. (ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper)

A master plan is on its way to getting the Buffalo Central Terminal back online, and make it the anchor of the Queen City. City and state leaders shared plans to position the terminal as an economic, social and cultural hub to accommodate large-scale events.

Mark Geise, Chautauqua’s Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, and CEO of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Authority, shared a monthly update.

North Carolina

Craven Community College is working with New Bern-area industries and businesses to turn local community members into valuable assets for a workforce hit hard by the pandemic. The school is offering numerous courses like welding and forklift safety in order to prepare people to fill vacant jobs at places like BSH, Moen and Volvo. (Sarah Sawyer, executive director of career programs at Craven Community College)

Jacksonville City Council adopted a resolution to designate some of the city’s trail network to be part of the East Coast Greenway. The East Coast Greenway is a 3,000-mile multi-use path that runs through the eastern seaboard from Maine to Florida connecting 15 states and 450 cities and towns. It’s designed for walkers, runners, cyclists, wheelchair users, skaters and horseback riders. (Mark Sutherland, executive director of Jacksonville Onslow Economic Development)

Whitaker Park is 50 years old, a once — and now remarkably future — economic engine for Winston-Salem. About 80% of the 1.7 million square feet of building space donated in 2017 by Reynolds American Inc. to Whitaker Park Development Authority Inc. has an end user. The nonprofit WPDA was created by Winston-Salem Business Inc., the Winston-Salem Alliance and Wake Forest University. (Bob Leak Jr., president and chief executive of WPDA)

Recycled plastic furniture manufacturer Poly-Wood will invest tens of millions of dollars in its North Carolina plant. The Syracuse, Ind.-headquartered company will spend $61.6 million to expand its manufacturing and distribution center in Roxboro, N.C. (Sherry Wilborn, Person County Economic Development Executive Director)

ElectriCities of North Carolina, Inc., has designated a Smart Site in the public power community of Farmville. The designation guarantees the site has met requirements and is shovel-ready for new development. The site, Farmville North, is the second Farmville location in the past five years to receive the certification.

North Carolina will add a new type of targeted workforce training grant to the state’s economic development toolkit, Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders announced. Up to $1 million will be available to fund grants during the 2021-2022 fiscal year.

The Concord City Council approved three 85 percent tax based Economic Development Incentive Grants for Red Bull, Ball, and RRB Beverage Operations Inc. for the beverage hub headed for The Grounds at Concord. The city, county and Governor Roy Cooper announced the Red Bull and Rauch beverage manufacturing, filling and distribution campus July 13. The development project was stated to be the largest in Cabarrus County history, since the Philip Morris plant, with $740 million in planned investment.

The Sun Journal published a Q&A with Craven County Economic Development Director Jeff Wood.

North Dakota

The Williston City Commission approved another round of grant applications for the STAR Fund. Economic Development Director Shawn Wenko presented the items before the Tuesday, Aug 10 meeting of the Commission.

A new development in Hatton will provide much-needed land for construction of new homes, said Jim Murphy, Traill County Economic Development Commission executive director. “The Traill County EDC is super excited for Hatton, and the great opportunity it means for Hatton and Traill County,” Murphy said.

Ohio

The wheels of economic development continued to turn during the pandemic making 2021 a good year for prospective projects in Allen County. The Allen Economic Development Group gave a mid-year update to commissioners that it has seen 11 projects asking for a “request for information” from the group.

Oregon officials don’t want any more smokestacks in their city. “We want to expand, but we don’t want to expand to more of the same,” said Steve Hornyak, Oregon councilman and chairman of the city’s economic development committee. “Our interest is to diversify.” But expand to what, exactly, remains the question as the former township-turned-city in eastern Lucas County grapples with its economic future and the future of the region. The east, according to officials, is more infrastructure- and utility-ready than the far west, but lacks some of the land availability that exists elsewhere.

Summer Vriezelaar, executive director of the Oregon Economic Development Foundation, recently gave a five year update on economic development in the city.

An online survey now being conducted is key to efforts to develop a regional strategy for economic growth, explained Gary Frankhouse, executive and economic development director for the Crawford Partnership. Crawford County is part of a regional effort to develop the U.S. Route 30 corridor. Along with Richland, Wyandot and Ashland counties, it entered into a contract with Bowling Green State University's Center for Regional Development to develop a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy, or CEDS.

Networking was the focus of the Eastern Ohio Development Alliance's summer meeting held recently at Clary Gardens. More than 65 elected officials and representatives from various organizations attended the first event held in a new pavilion at the community gardens facility. The guest speaker was Lydia Mihalik, director of the Ohio Department of Development. (James Schoch, EODA executive director)

Three Ohio counties located in Southeast Ohio were recently recognized for successful economic development outcomes in the year 2020 by Site Selection Magazine. Holmes, Monroe, and Pike counties were rated in the top ten of all U.S. rural counties that experienced economic development growth based upon private project investments with a capital investment of $1 million or more, job creation of 20 new hires, or 20,000 sq. ft. of new build-out by corporate end-users. (Mike Jacoby, President of Ohio Southeast Economic Development)

The Erie County Chamber of Commerce recruited Joe Roman out of retirement to lead the organization. Previously, he served as president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership. It’s the nation’s largest metropolitan chamber organization with membership exceeding 12,000 entities.

In an unexpected move for a suburb whose rural period was a century ago, a Tractor Supply Co. is planned for a location in North Olmsted. (Michelle Boczek, Westlake economic development manager)

Oklahoma

The City of Broken Arrow and Tulsa County are partnering on a new Tourism and Economic Development office in Broken Arrow.

Oregon

With the support of Malheur County Economic Development, Debbie Wolfe, a sole proprietor located in Vale, was able to launch her brand-new website. Malheur County Economic Development provides free, confidential business advising, which includes assistance for businesses’ online presence. (Greg Smith, director of Malheur County Economic Development)

Pennsylvania

Officials visited several Chester County restaurants and hotels on Friday that recently received some of the $5.9 million in grant funds provided to the hospitality industry through the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. A total of 203 grantees across Chester County have benefitted from the program. “These businesses aren’t out of the woods yet,” said Chester County Economic Development Council President and CEO Gary Smith.

A freight hauling company that specializes in shipping freight between Amazon warehouses plans to acquire a facility for its headquarters with the help of the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. (Melissa Stone, CREDC’s vice president of economic development)

Continuing his commitment to creating good jobs and attracting growing industries to Pennsylvania, Gov. Tom Wolf recently visited Aliquipp. The Beaver County community has received more than $11 million in state funding during the governor’s term to encourage business development that will strengthen the regional economy and benefit working families.

Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands

Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are moving beyond tourism into other "Blue Economy" industries like developing use for Sargassum, now inundating many beaches of Puerto Rico and the rest of the Caribbean; jumpstarting aquaculture and the local fishing industry, which has been languishing for years; developing off-shore wind farms to increase the use of alternative energies; developing more inter-island ferries; managing marine pollution and marine debris; improving coastal resilience in the wake of climate change; and small boat/yacht maintenance. These were the main topics of discussion during a three-day summit held by Bluetide Puerto Rico to help develop the Blue Economy.

South Carolina

Every year, property tax breaks doled out as economic development incentives cost the Berkeley County School District roughly the price of building a new high school. Think around $80 million. School districts across South Carolina collectively lost $472.3 million to economic incentive deals in 2020, and none lost more than Berkeley, according to district financial reports.

Consumer goods business Malouf Companies will invest $47 million to establish operations in South Carolina. The investment is expected to create 240 jobs in Laurens.

Trustees at Lexington District One — the state’s sixth biggest school district by enrollment — unanimously approved extending a minority business enterprise plan designed to balance economic and community growth. District leaders allocate one-half of 1 percent of its annual budget for procurement of supplies, services and construction to minority-owned businesses.

Tennessee

Remote Johnson City, a joint venture of Northeast Tennessee Regional Economic Partnership, the Northeast Tennessee Tourism Association and the Johnson City Convention and Visitors Bureau wants to pay people to relocate to Washington County. (NeTREP CEO Mitch Miller)

Van Tucker, CEO of LaunchTN, has resigned.

Sullivan County has been awarded a $50,000 grant for community development projects. The grant comes from ThreeStar, a program run by the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development. According to TNECD, the money will be used for local community development initiatives such as education, workforce development, health, tourism, small business, entrepreneurship and economic development programs.

Shea Hopkins has joined the Clarksville-Montgomery County Economic Development Council as VP of Industrial Development. Previously she was vice president of Economic Development at the Granbury Chamber of Commerce in Granbury, Texas.

Tennessee and Virginia

Bristol, Tennessee and Bristol, Virginia have created a game plan to spur economic growth the next two decades. The Bristol 2040 plan looks at job growth, housing, and tourism. "This is a path forward," says Beth Rhinehart from the Bristol Chamber of Commerce. "It's our guide book to get us to where we're attaining things we feel are important to our community and to our region."

Texas

The City of Lufkin wants to invest more than $2 million into its downtown area. The budget will fund a revitalization effort that looks to make a brighter city for people to enjoy. The Lufkin Forward Plan received $2.4 million from the Lufkin Economic Development Corporation to revitalize downtown. Bob Samford, the economic development director says improvements will help the Lufkin stand out.

Bonham Economic Development Corporation hosted a special session on Monday afternoon. The board approved a non-binding letter of interest with the Sanchez Group for a lot on State Highway 121. "The concept plan would call for some retail development on the front end, and what we have dubbed as 'town homes for teachers' on the back end," said BEDCO's executive director Stephen Filipowicz.

A $5 billion electric vehicle company backed by Amazon and Ford is weighing a North Texas site that would roughly match the scope of Tesla’s heavily hyped gigafactory under construction outside of Austin. The site being considered in the Walsh development 12 miles southwest of downtown Fort Worth was one of the top locations pitched by North Texas leaders when Amazon was searching for a place to build its massive HQ2 project. Irvine, Calif.-based Rivian Automotive Inc., the electric-vehicle startup backed by Ford and Amazon, is in negotiations to invest at least $5 billion to build a factory with the capacity to produce 200,000 vehicles a year, according to a presentation Tuesday night by the city of Fort Worth’s Economic Development Department to the City Council. (Brandom Gengelbach, CEO of the Fort Worth Chamber of Commerce)

A California-based company involved in building energy-efficient and “smart” modular homes is building a factory in Waco, near the new Amazon fulfillment center that is nearing completion. (Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce)

A new major interstate through Brazos County would have a significant impact on the local economy. According to the Brazos Valley Economic Development Corporation, this new road bringing east and west Texas together could be a welcome route for many industries in the local area. (Matt Prochaska, President, and CEO of the Brazos Valley EDC)

Heat Biologics, a North Carolina-based bioscience company has won new tax incentives from the City of San Antonio after promising to build out its research facility and hire dozens of scientists.

Utah

Utah-based bedding company Malouf, announced plans to expand their headquarters, adding 4,200 new high-paying jobs. (Go Utah’s executive director, Dan Hemmert)

Vermont

Senator Patrick Leahy, Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Peter Welch, and Governor Phil Scott announced Monday that 14 Vermont organizations will receive more than $4.5 million in federal grants to promote economic development across the Green Mountain State.

Virginia

Local developers are teaming up with powerhouses like music icon Pharrell Williams and former football star Emmitt Smith to compete for the chance to redevelop Military Circle Mall in Norfolk. To solicit public feedback, the city’s economic development department released executive summaries from three of the four finalists vying to redevelop the mall, which has been open since 1970, on Friday. The three documents each detail the scope and features of each multi-use development proposal, as well as their estimated economic impact and costs.

The Bristol Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday released a report detailing the Twin Cities’ biggest challenges and opportunities for economic growth, along with strategies to help the area achieve that growth over the next two decades. The report cited an aging population, the “brain drain” effect of talented workers “moving away to seek better employment opportunities” and low wages as some of the area's top barriers to economic development. Its top strengths included its K-12 schools and downtown revival. (Beth Rhinehart, the chamber’s president and CEO)

Jill Loope, economic development director for Roanoke County, has been appointed by Gov. Ralph Northam to the Virginia Manufacturing Development Commission.

Virginia’s Gateway Region, a nonprofit economic development organization that markets the Hopewell-Petersburg-Colonial Heights tri-cities area and surrounding localities, asked Surry County to consider joining with its membership in forming a regional industrial facilities authority. (Keith Boswell, VGR’s president and chief executive officer)

Liz Via-Gossman, Manassas community development director, has retired.

The Forward Amherst 2022 Strategic Plan, which builds upon a vision for economic development established six years ago with updated initiatives, has received approval from the Amherst County Board of Supervisors. Crystal Morphus of North Carolina-based Creative Economic Development Consulting presented the plan during the supervisors’ meeting

Governor Ralph Northam announced that Evolve Services, Inc., a producer of composite productions and reproductions, will invest $1.25 million to expand its operation in Frederick County.

Washington

Both the Port of Walla Walla and the Port of Columbia, in Dayton, have been awarded $2 million grants from the Community Economic Revitalization Board of Washington’s Department of Commerce. The money goes to their respective rural broadband infrastructure projects. Each secured the money by raising at least 20%, or $500,000, themselves as required matching funds. (Port of Walla Walla Executive Director Pat Reay)

While distilling spirits is their specialty, Sandstone Distillery pivoted to rapidly produce hand sanitizer during the early and most crucial months of the pandemic, thus earning them a nomination from the Thurston Economic Development Council for an Economic Courage Award.

West Virginia

Development opportunities were on the mind of Weirton Council as part of its agenda Monday night. Council unanimously approved a resolution to adopt the Weirton Area Reuse Plan, a multi-phase, multi-year plan focusing on efforts to redevelop portions of the north end of the city. The plan was developed through the efforts of city officials, the Frontier Group of Companies, the Business Development Corp. of the Northern Panhandle, the Thrasher Group and the West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center.

Samuel Lusk is the new director for the newly formed Princeton Development Authority.

Wyoming

Wyoming stands to receive millions in federal stimulus dollars aimed at helping coal- and energy-reliant communities survive industry downturns and diversify their economies. The state, however, is currently unprepared to capitalize on the opportunity, stakeholders say. (Energy Capital Economic Development CEO Phil Christopherson)


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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.