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25 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 81 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, Puerto Rico, Canada, and Jamaica

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
16 min read
25 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Hannah Morgan / Unsplash

Welcome to the 25th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

Thanks for reading!  Because of all the news in the economic development industry this week, this issue took more than 15 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 City of Chelsea will participate in the Economic Development Academy offered by the Alabama League of Municipalities.

Baldwin County ranked as fastest growing county in Alabama: “When you move 50,000 people within a decade to your community you’re creating a substantial economic impact for businesses, for new business creation, and for the existing businesses that are here to thrive,” said Lee Lawson with the Baldwin County Economic Development Alliance.

Arkansas

Fayetteville races ahead of Fort Smith in population, moving on to become the second-largest city in the state and bumping Fort Smith down to number three. (Michael Pakko, chief economist at the Arkansas Economic Development Institute)

As Arkansas' unemployment rate returns to near pre-pandemic levels -- with July's rate reported at 4.3% on Friday -- business owners and economic development officials remain concerned that the state's shrinking labor force is sapping business growth and recruitment efforts. (Mike Preston, Arkansas Commerce Secretary; Jay Chesshir, President/CEO Little Rock Regional Chamber; Mary Beth Brooks, director of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center at the University of Arkansas)

During the awards luncheon at their 2021 Annual Conference in Jonesboro, the Arkansas Economic Developers & Chamber Executives recognized Katherine Holmstrom, senior project manager in the Business Development Division at the Arkansas Economic Development Commission as the Outstanding Economic Developer. (J.D. Lowery, President of Arkansas Economic Developers and Chamber Executive)

Tourism and economic officials in Arkansas have spent many years trying to convince people to work, live and play in Arkansas. New Arkansas Legislature and an executive order will make it easier to develop more outdoor recreation businesses. (Stacy Hurst, Secretary of Parks, Heritage & Tourism; Mike Preston, Secretary of Commerce; Travis Napper, Arkansas Tourism Director)

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission’s Technology Development Program has awarded $100,000 to healthcare startup Lineus Medical of Fayetteville.

California

The Elk Grove City Council authorized the hiring of a consultant to assist the city in finding a developer for “Project Elevate,” a high-end, mixed-use development. (Rachael Brown, economic development manager; Darrel Doan, economic development director)

Colorado

The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Economic Development Council of Colorado announced grants of $25,000 and $50,000 are available through the Economic Development Organization Recovery Grant to support organizational capacity for economic development organizations and bolster our economic recovery. (Laura Lewis Marchino, Chair of the Board of Directors of the EDCC; Pat Meyers, Executive Director of OEDIT and the State’s Chief Economic Recovery Officer)

Delaware

The City of Wilmington’s business climate and Delaware’s tech talent pipeline earn top 10 spots in the latest 2021 Business Facilities Report. (Kurt Foreman, president and CEO of the Delaware Prosperity Partnership)

Florida

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Florida has experienced 15 consecutive months of job growth, gaining 63,900 private sector jobs over the month. This is the largest monthly increase in private sector jobs since June 2020. In total, Florida has gained 964,400 jobs since the height of the pandemic. (Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity)

Florida attracted 31.7 million visitors in the second quarter of this year, as the state continued to expand tourism-marketing efforts and COVID-19 vaccinations became readily available. Visit Florida received $50 million in the state budget that started July 1 for marketing efforts. Another $5 million is calculated into the agency’s $121.2 million budget from the U.S. Commerce Department Economic Development Administration through the CARES Act. (Dana Young, president and CEO of the tourism-marketing agency Visit Florida; Roger Dow, President and CEO U.S. Travel Association)

Walton County is expecting an economic boom after the U.S. Highway 331 Water and Sewer Installation Project is completed. (Bill Imfeld, Walton County Economic Development Director)

Mayor Alfin wants to form a public-private Economic Development Council to boost Palm Coast economy

Georgia

The Federal Opportunity Zone and other incentives have brought Brunswick $70 million in direct investments over the past three years. “We are spending day and night promoting Opportunity Brunswick” Travis Stegall, the city's economic and community development director said. “There’s a reason there are so many players on the field. We all have a position, but we’re a team.”

The Georgina Economic Development and Tourism team has been busy creating new opportunities for entrepreneurs and business owners in Georgina. In 2021, the team launched four new programs: Taste of Georgina, Georgina Street Banners, Business Bounce Back and Georgina Made. (Karyn Stone, Georgina Economic Development and Tourism manager)

Georgia’s Black buying power, defined as total income after taxes, was $118 billion in 2020, according to the 2021 Multicultural Economy report released last week by the University of Georgia’s Selig Center for Economic Growth. That figure trailed only Texas ($149 billion) and New York ($141 billion), and was tied with California. (Jeffrey Humphreys, director of the Selig Center and author of the Multicultural Economy report)

Illinois

After a vote delayed more than a year, the Normal Town Council on Monday changed zoning rules in the One Normal Plaza development, stopping short of allowing any wine and liquor shops there. Controversy began swirling around the proposed changes about a year ago, when some residents of the neighborhood raised concerns about the possibility of a brew pub locating there.

Calumet City is among the applicants for a south suburban land-based casino license. Should the city win the casino license, other attractions would be needed to get visitors to stay more than the few hours they might spend at the gambling center.

Indiana

Indiana Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers today announced David Rosenberg has been named executive vice president of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation.

Funds were approved for the Kosciusko Economic Development Corporation to transform the former Owen's property into workforce housing. (Jeremy Skinner, Warsaw community economic and development director)

The Economic Development Corporation of Wayne County recently hosted an awards celebration to highlight 2020 activities, programs and initiatives. President Valerie Shaffer provided an overview of the EDC’s participation in programs providing financial assistance to the county’s small businesses during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fees collected from companies granted tax abatements will fund two upcoming community development projects in Franklin. Using the $23,327 in economic development fees collected so far in 2021, the Franklin Economic Development Commission awarded a $14,827 grant to the Franklin Chamber of Commerce, and a $8,500 grant to Discover Downtown Franklin. (Rosie Chambers, Chamber executive director)

The City of Batesville is continuing its efforts to assist with storefront renovation projects. The Building Improvement Grant provides matching funds to small business owners wanting to renovate the exterior of their structure. The BIG Grant Program has assisted 24 businesses since 2018. (Sarah Lamping, Economic Development Director)

Iowa

Iowa officials approved incentives for Tyson Foods to help the company change how it slaughters pigs at its Columbus Junction plant. The Iowa Economic Development Authority approved about $540,000 for renovations on the killing floor. Tyson will spend about $15 million to make the change. (Cole Smith, executive director of the Louisa Development Group; Kanan Kappelman, a spokesperson for the economic development authority; Rob Tietz, the county's director of finance and operations)

Iowa EdTech Collaborative’s first director, Mark Butland, wants to “find ways to create shared sandboxes” as he fosters an “entrepreneur ecosystem” for educational technology.

Iconic Iowa company, Winnebago, moved its corporate headquarters to Minnesota, but says no other changes are in store. Winnebago leaders say the move won't impact Iowa workers. (Jill Kramer, Hancock County Economic Development Director; Beth Bilyeu, Forest City Economic Development Director)

Kentucky

The Henderson Economic Development is launching an interactive community job board. Officials say it was designed to provide an easy-to-navigate tool for both area employers and job seekers. (Missy Vanderpool, Executive Director)

A CORRECTION FROM LAST WEEK: 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.

Louisville Pure Tap™ is directly linked to more than 24,000 businesses in the region. A team of Louisville Water employees developed a Liquid Assets economic development platform that builds the company’s brand, highlights advantages in terms of quality and rates, and develops strategic partnerships that let others share the company's story. (Kelley Dearing Smith, Louisville Water’s Vice President of Communications & Marketing and the company’s team lead in working on economic development)

Gov. Beshear delivered funding to two road resurfacing projects for economic development in Pike County.

Louisiana

Coca-Cola Bottling Company United is considering a $42 million investment to expand its bottling facility in Baton Rouge. The proposed expansion would create 15 direct new jobs, with an average salary of $43,000, plus benefits. (Adam Knapp, president and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Chamber)

The Lafayette Economic Development Authority has named four finalists in its search to replace outgoing President and CEO Gregg Gothreaux. The pool of finalists, which will be interviewed by the LEDA board of commissioners, includes Acadiana Planning Commission CEO Monique Boulet, Louisiana Economic Development Assistant Sec. Mandi Mitchell, Northwest Florida economic development manager Verdell Hawkins, and Beaufort County  Economic Development Corporation Executive Director John O'Toole.

Maine

A federal-state partnership is giving a boost to economic development and infrastructure projects around Maine. The projects are mostly located in rural areas and they are receiving about $4.9 million through the Northern Border Regional Commission’s State Economic and Infrastructure Development Investment Program.

The Piscataquis County Economic Development Council is planning to develop an economic development strategy and a broadband planning grant project. (Joh Shea, PCEDC Executive Director)

Maryland

The Howard County Economic Development Authority announced the HoCo Higher: Accelerator Business program in partnership with M&T Bank. The program will teach early-stage and historically under-served entrepreneurs the essentials of business planning, operations, credit building, digital communication and financial management. Top business mentors, coaches and subject matter experts will lead the intensive 10-week boot camp at no cost to participants. (Lawrence Twele, CEO of HCEDA)

Massachusetts

Fall River's waterfront will be transformed into an “urban boulevard” that will encourage economic development by creating developable parcels of land along the Taunton River waterfront; connect surrounding neighborhoods to the riverfront; and introduce an extensive network of pedestrian and bicycle facilities. (Ken Fiola, vice president of Bristol County Economic Development Consultants)

MassDevelopment has issued more than $179 million in tax-exempt bonds for Boston College and two other higher education institutions in Newton. The state’s colleges and universities drive its economy by educating its future workforce, creating jobs, and serving as hubs of research and innovation. (Dan Rivera, MassDevelopment president and CEO)

Michigan

Carl Bourdelais, the senior business consultant at Alpena’s Small Business Development Center said, “There may be someone who makes nice surfboards, and it might be a great plan somewhere else, but this is probably not the place to do it, because there’s not much demand here and not a smart opportunity,” he said. “We have to separate the idea from the true opportunity. There has to be a real need and there needs to be a lot of research done to see if there is.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer will embark on the ‘UP Jobs Tour’ across Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to showcase Michigan’s Economic Jumpstart plan and how her administration is preparing and training the 21st Century workforce. The governor’s plan includes $1 billion to jumpstart Michigan’s economy by investing in businesses, workers, and organizations across the state. (Quentin Messer, CEO Michigan Economic Development Corporation)

Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses is investing half a million dollars to flip a building on Eastern Avenue SE into a center for entrepreneurship and development for Black-owned businesses. (Jeremiah Graci, Director Grand Rapids Economic Development)

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy has awarded $2.3 million in brownfield grants and loans to four projects for redevelopment of contaminated properties in Northern Michigan and the Upper Peninsula. Overall, this summer EGLE will provide $15.6 million in brownfield funding to 21 projects statewide. (Jeff Holt, executive director of the Sault Economic Development Corporation; Lisa McComb, director of the Otsego County Brownfield Redevelopment Authority; Sara Mae Andrews, EGLE Brownfield Coordinator)

Minnesota

To provide emergency assistance to local businesses in Rochester adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rochester Innovation Grant Program will provide grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses innovating their business model, approach, or services in response to the pandemic. (Sean Williams, Director of Entrepreneurial Services for RAEDI)

The Center for Economic Inclusion elected Kimberly A. Randolph P.E., PMP, to its Board of Directors, and announced the appointment of Nancy Ballou as Vice President of Finance and Operations, and Mary Beth Hanson as Director of Communications and Marketing.

Mississippi

Natchez Inc. plans an economic development announcement on Thursday at 10 a.m. in a parking lot across the street from the former Eola Hotel. (Chandler Russ, executive director of Natchez Inc.)

Missouri

St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones signed a smaller $135 million pandemic aid plan on Monday, vetoing provisions that she worries don’t fall within the U.S. Treasury guidelines for spending the money. The city counselor, comptroller and compliance auditors have warned that $33 million earmarked for economic development puts the city at risk for a clawback. A federal lobbyist for the city also had argued federal guidelines don’t allow for money to be used for general economic development purposes.

The City of Sikeston received a $2 million grant for the development of the South Industrial Park.

Getting better high-speed internet service to rural areas around the country is a priority in the Biden administration's infrastructure bill. But a project on the local level, the Quantum Fiber expansion, has been working toward this goal for much of the Springfield area over the past several years, City Utilities leaders say. (Dean Thompson, City Utilities vice president and chief economic development officer)

Washington city officials are actively working to acquire land for a sixth industrial park. Officials always want to have land available for companies and businesses. (Sal Maniaci, Director Washington Community and Economic Development)

Nebraska

Blueprint Nebraska projects that 66,000 jobs and 73,000 residents would be added over a decade by cutting income taxes, increasing investment in research and development of businesses, and helping highly skilled and highly sought new employees pay off student loan debt. (Owen Palm, President and CEO)

Nevada

Northern Nevada Development Authority announced Wednesday that Philip “Phil” Cowee has been selected as the organization’s new Executive Director. Mr. Cowee replaces Robert Hooper who recently retired after leading NNDA for 12 years.

Lyon County has hired Andrew Haskin as community development director.

New Jersey

A new bill signed this week by Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver that restores and revises the Urban Enterprise Zone Program is planned to help spur growth of local economies in designated urban cities like Newark. The bill dedicates $42.5 million toward Zone Assistance Funds. (Bernel Hall, CEO of Invest Newark)

A proposed rule change to the Offshore Wind Economic Development Tax Credit Program would adjust the period over which wind economic development tax credits are earned and paid out and would revise the minimum number of jobs required for the program.

New Mexico

Members of the San Juan County Commission received a briefing on the work of Four Corners Economic Development officials. The presentation focused on the agency's digital marketing efforts, including its new website 4cornersed.com (Arvin Trujillo, CEO Four Corners Economic Development)

Grant County has a new economic development organization, but its new executive director will be familiar to most in the region — Steven Chavira, who will take over leadership of the Grant County Workforce and Economic Development Alliance after he completes his current position as the head of the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce this Friday.

New York

Onondaga County is hoping to use some of its money from the American Rescue Plan Act to lure more jobs to the area. The proposal allows the legislature to authorize a $20 million loan to the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency. The agency would be able to use the money on an as-needed basis to try to attract new business in the county.

With Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul poised to take the state’s highest office in just over a week, local leaders are hopeful she’ll bring economic development and recovery to the Southern Tier, not just downstate New York.

North Carolina

Three economic development projects that will create 64 jobs and bring more than $7.9 million in net investment to Robeson County were approved today by the Rural Infrastructure Authority Board, according to the director of the county's office of Economic Development. (Channing Jones, Director Robeson County Economic Development; Christopher Chung, CEO Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina)

The Garland Apparel Group, LLC has been awarded a $250,000 grant for building renovations. (Stephen Barrington, Director Sampson County Economic Development)

Three Triad economic-development projects, including The Ardagh Group in Winston-Salem, have received grant funding from the N.C. Rural Infrastructure Authority.

The North Carolina Main Street and Rural Planning Center report that since the inception of North Carolina’s Main Street program in 1980, designated Main Street communities have leveraged more than $4.08 billion in public and private investment in their downtown districts. More than 7,000 buildings have been rehabilitated, and there has been a net gain of more than 7,000 businesses and more than 30,000 jobs. (Liz Parham, Director N.C. Main Street and Rural Planning Center)

North Dakota

The Williston Economic Development Department set a goal at the beginning of the year to support 21 businesses. Eight months later, they have already hit that mark and are expecting more. The “21 in 2021” goal was set by Economic Development to provide STAR Funds for seven new businesses, seven expansions, and seven quality of life projects. (Shawn Wenko, Executive Director Williston Economic Development Department)

Ohio

Holmes, Monroe and Pike, three counties serviced by Ohio Southeast Economic Development have been recognized for successful economic development outcomes in 2020 by Site Selection Magazine. The counties were rated in the top 10 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-square-feet of new buildout by corporate end-users. (Mark Leininger, executive director of the Holmes County Economic Development Council; Mike Jacoby, president of OhioSE)

Western Magnesium Corp. announced it plans to build a commercial plant in Harrison County. The agreement between Harrison County and Western Magnesium will be the site of the first full scale deployment of its proprietary magnesium extraction technology in the United States. (Dana Saucier, JobsOhio Vice President and Head of Economic Development)

Pennsylvania

Big numbers — square footage, investments and jobs — were in the spotlight when Mike Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corp., made his annual visit to the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce. Ross called his presentation "the most comprehensive" he's put together in a while and took the nearly 120 local business representatives at the breakfast meeting on a whirlwind tour up and down the Interstate 81 corridor and east and west to Waynesboro and Mercersburg.

Deputy Secretary for Technology and Entrepreneurship of the Department of Community and Economic Development Steve D’Ettorre joined Chester County commissioners, Chester County Economic Development Council, and local stakeholders to highlight the funding provided to Chester County restaurants through the COVID-19 Hospitality Industry Recovery Program. (CCEDC President and CEO Gary Smith)

South Carolina

“The next five years in Georgetown will be the best five years Georgetown has ever seen in economic development,” said Brian Tucker, the director of Economic Development for the last seven and a half years. He will be watching from a distance. Tucker will start work Sept. 1 as assistant city manager in Myrtle Beach.

South Dakota

The Sioux Metro Growth Alliance, which serves interests of 13 municipalities along with Lincoln and Minnehaha Counties, is keeping a close eye on the supply and demand for water in the area. (Jesse Fonkert, President & CEO)

The SD Governor’s Office of Economic Development announced two new programs: 1. Cities can cooperatively market workforce needs using a theme of “We Saved You a Spot”. This marketing effort will leverage digital, television, and print advertising to tell out-of-state job seekers that we have workforce needs in SD. 2. Workforce incentives such as relocation bonuses, signing bonuses, and upskilling (for existing employees to move them to a higher-level position). With both of these initiatives, GOED will provide funds to be matched by economic development organizations and businesses. The total budget that we have available for this program is $900,000.

Tennessee

U.S. Sen. Bill Hagerty is planning an annual economic development tour of Tennessee to visit with business owners, workers and farmers

Texas

The City of Austin’s Economic Development Department has launched the 2021 Small Business Needs Assessment and is encouraging local business owners across the city to participate at HelpAustinThrive.com. (Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director for the Economic Development Department)

As of July 2021, European native Matt Ruszczak, is now leading tje Council for South Texas Economic Progress’s regional Domestic & Foreign Direct Investment Initiative as the Vice-President of Economic Development. (Patricia Beard, COSTEP’s Chief Executive Officer)

Virginia

Woodgrain Inc., a manufacturer of wood moulding and trim, will invest nearly $9 million to expand its operations in Smyth County and invest more than $8 million to purchase and expand the former Independence Lumber sawmill in Grayson County. These projects will create 100 new jobs, save 80 existing jobs, and increase purchases of Virginia-grown forest products. (Virginia’s Industrial Advancement Alliance Executive Director Josh Lewis)

Kristy Johnson has been selected as Halifax County Industrial Development Authority’s new executive director.

Shenandoah County Tourism and Economic Development received the maximum award of $20,000 from the Virginia Tourism Corporation’s Recovery Marketing Leverage Program to help local and regional tourism entities attract more visitors by leveraging limited local marketing dollars through a local match of the state grants funds (Brenda Black, Tourism and Economic Coordinator for Shenandoah County)

Altavista On Track approved granting thousands of dollars in economic development funds to local businesses and gave updates on its fall events at the group’s August 12 meeting. (AOT executive director George Sandridge)

Washington DC

The Bowser Administration and the Golden Triangle BID celebrated Grow Golden businesses that will help revitalize the central business district as the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues. The Grow Golden program brings small and local retail and food businesses to the Golden Triangle neighborhood by connecting local makers, restauranteurs, and creatives with property owners in order to fill high profile, ground floor spaces in the Golden Triangle. Through Grow Golden, selected businesses are also supported with multiple months of free rent, favorable terms for extending occupancy, and technical assistance.

West Virginia

The West Virginia Economic Development Authority Board of Directors approved more than $6 million in loans to four businesses at its August meeting on Thursday.

The first meeting of the recently renewed partnership among the Marion County Commission, Fairmont City Council and Marion Regional Development Corp. took place Friday morning. (MRDC President Nick Fantasia)

Wyoming

Energy Capital Economic Development celebrated 37 years in the community with an open house Thursday.


United States

A proposed stretch of interstate highway that would connect a dozen military bases between Texas and Georgia made its way into the $1 trillion infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last week with the expectation it will improve access to bases located in some of the more isolated stretches of the South. The highway is a "major step in advancing Interstate 14 as a future corridor for handling freight movement, military facility connectivity, coastal evacuation and sparking economic development," said John Thompson, chairman of the Gulf Coast Strategic Highway Coalition, a group of community leaders who advocate for the highway.

Puerto Rico

An analysis by the Center for a New Economy has found that the University of Puerto Rico’s continuing crisis is due to chronic budget cuts and the inability of the university’s administration to properly manage its budget woes. Yet the university is essential to Puerto Rico’s economic development, researchers said, not only for its important role in higher education, but also “ensuring social mobility” for many people.

Canada

The City of Greater Sudbury wants to make sure that businesses that struggled over the past 18 months feel supported. The city council approved an economic recovery plan, in partnership with the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation. (Lisa Demmer, chair of the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation; Brett Williamson, Sudbury's director of economic development)

Jamaica

A total of 404 local economic initiatives have benefited from business support services provided under the Local Economic Development Support Programme. This resulted in the generation of jobs for 1,659 persons.


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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.