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29 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 128 economic development executives and organizations in 44 states, plus Bermuda and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
27 min read
29 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Claudio Guglieri / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Welcome to the 29th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.  (Here are all of the past issues.)

Today's issue contains economic development news from 127 economic development executives and organizations in 44 states, plus Bermuda and Canada.

I hope that you enjoy it! -Dane


Sealaska Corp. and The Nature Conservancy announced their intention to jointly contribute $17 million in seed funding to establish and support programs aimed at building Indigenous-led land management and community economic development.  Sealaska will contribute $10 million while the Nature Conservancy will give $7 million from the Bezos Earth Fund, an endowment fund created by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.


At the “City of Tempe – Fueling the Economy” panel discussion this week, guests will hear about the current trends in commercial and residential real estate and the hospitality industry, and Tempe’s holistic approach to economic development.  Speakers include: Donna Kennedy, economic development director, City of Tempe; Mike Petrivelli, associate director of market analytics, CoStar Group.


Little River County, will receive $2 million in federal grant money to construct fiber optic cable lines to support broadband internet infrastructure, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced Thursday. (Rob Sitterley, president and CEO of Texarkana economic development organization AR-TX REDI)


The Bermuda Business Development Agency has appointed David Hart as its new chief executive officer. Hart was previously executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, among the largest business lobby groups in the United States. During his time there, the state was responsible for one of every 11 new jobs created in the United States and attracted $1.19 million in capital every hour.


Job seekers in southwest Riverside County will be able to get help finding employment at the recently opened Temporary Menifee Workforce Development Center in Menifee. “The Temporary Menifee Workforce Development Center, along with the city's Jobs Blueprint Plan and Comprehensive Economic Development (CEDS)  Plan, work together in synergy with one another to continue to position Menifee as a leader for growth and job creation in the region,'' City Manager Armando Villa said.

Cole Przybyla, Tuolumne County's Director of Innovation and Business Assistance will be the guest on Mother Lode Views this weekend.

A series of initiatives seen as potentially promoting local economic growth came to light Wednesday as part of an economic development strategy approved by a 4-0 vote of the Bakersfield City Council. An outside consultant hired to forge the city's strategy, Roger Dale, unveiled priorities such as a Bakersfield technology park the city expects will be developed under a joint venture with Cal State Bakersfield and the private sector. (Paul Saldaña), the city's economic and community development director, said it will be his department's priority this year to take steps toward realizing each of the game-changers.

For the past several months, collaboration of more than a dozen organizations from Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino Counties that are interested in economic health of our region have planned “Future Forward,” a two-day virtual economic summit designed to foster innovative thinking for an equitable and sustainable economy. The conference will focus on three themes: Industries Bringing New Opportunities; Infrastructure for Sustainable Economies; and Improving Quality of Life for All. (Susan Seaman is the program director for the Arcata Economic Development Corporation)

Forgotten retail spaces are about to get a lot more attention under one of Bakersfield's new economic development strategies. The city's economic and community development director, [Paul Saldaña](Paul Saldaña), said it's not been decided yet where, but the pilot project might be a mixed-use development in which the city reaches out to a property owner about possible reuses.

The Economic Development Corporation of San Benito County is pleased to announce that it is running a half-page ad in the California State Spotlight section of Site Selection magazine’s September 2021 edition focusing on “Infrastructure and Logistics.” (Executive Director, Marc Fontes)


The Town of Milton is creating its new five-year economic development strategy and is seeking community feedback as a result.

Rebecca Richards has been appointed Director of the Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation in partnership with Jacomien van Tonder, Director of Metal Tech Alley. Their co-directorship responds to both entities’ increasing need for dedicated leadership.


The Colorado Economic Development Commission on Thursday morning approved $11.3 million worth of job growth incentive tax credits to four companies that are considering the creation of 610 jobs over the next eight years in the state.


West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor and her husband, Michael Cantor, both alumni of the University of Connecticut, have made a gift to the university that will promote economic development in the Greater Hartford area.  (Tara Watrous, the Werth Institute’s head of entrepreneurial transformation)

The Connecticut Metropolitan Council of Governments recently completed a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy for the Greater Bridgeport Region.

The Town of Haddam has a vacancy on their Economic Development Commission. (Kate Anderson, Chairwoman)


The Wilmington Chamber of Commerce has created a new position to oversee its small business development efforts and has named Josh Hallingse to the role.  Hallingse will become the chamber’s vice president of small business development and business retention.

The findings of a new report show that the Cape Fear region's economy is suffering from wage inequality, a housing shortage that makes homeownership nearly impossible for low-wage earners and discrimination. The results of the Cape Fear Collective report also show that the wage gap is particularly wide for women of color and that discrimination is felt more often by those who are job seekers with criminal records, according to a news release. (Patrick Brien, CEO of CFC)


The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast assists military spouses connect with businesses prior to moving to Brevard. (Brian Baluta, EDC’s director of communications and partner relations)

The Pasco Economic Development Council will return with its annual NetFest after having to cancel last year’s event. This year’s theme is Back to the Future of Business. (Suzanne Renczkowski, director of operations, Lauren Miceli, director of marketing and communications)

Martin County wants to boost aerospace, marine and information technology industries along a corridor where they’ve been taking shape. An Innovation District, which would include existing businesses related to these industries, could be a tool in a larger action plan to recover economic losses. (George Stokus, assistant county administrator; Joan Goodrich, executive director of the Business Development Board of Martin County)

The West Palm Beach Downtown Development Authority said there is a business boom in the downtown area. The area is capitalizing on an influx of new residents during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Raphael Clemente, executive director Downtown Development Authority)

A rebranding for the East Lee County Chamber of Commerce ignited a rebirth of what it has to offer for the East Lee County community. The chamber will now primarily focus on business and economic development. (Mike Welch, Chair and Operating Officer)

Over $3.4 million is being distributed to Florida military installations via grants from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and the private-public partnership entity tasked with leading the state’s economic development, Enterprise Florida. (Jamal Sowell, President & CEO Enterprise Florida)

Forbes Magazine recently named Tampa, the seat of Hillsborough County government, as the nation's No. 1 up-and-coming tech city. (Shannon Pastizzo, program director at USF CONNECT)

The Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced Florida has experienced 16 consecutive months of job growth, gaining 19,400 private sector jobs over the month. In total, Florida has gained 990,400 jobs since April 2020. Florida’s unemployment rate of 5.0% for August 2021 dropped 0.1 percentage point from July 2021. For 13 consecutive months, the state of Florida’s unemployment rate has remained below the national rate. (Secretary Dane Eagle)


As part of the State of Georgia’s recognition of National Small Business Week 2021, Governor Brian P. Kemp announced a new position in state government to support and empower Georgia’s small business community. The Georgia Department of Economic Development has established a Director of Small Business Outreach. GDEcD’s former Director of Creative Industry Partnerships, Allen Fox, will serve in this role. (Pat Wilson, Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner)


The Hawaiʻi Workforce Development Council wanted to find out who’s working in the gig economy here, compared with the rest of the country. The study showed as many as one-quarter of gig workers in Hawaiʻi worked overtime — 51 hours or more a week -- and averaged $807 a week. (Wayne Liou, economist Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism's Research and Economic Analysis Division; Scott Murakami, economic development coordinator DBEDT)


As local economies climb out of the COVID-19 recession, employers are finding it hard to fill positions as they become available. The unemployment rate in Champaign County currently sits just above five percent. That is slightly higher than the county’s usual unemployment rate of three percent, but far lower than the 11 percent that it was at the start of the pandemic. (Laura Weis, President and CEO Champaign County Chamber of Commerce; Andrew Taylor, Economic Development Officer at the Economic Development Corporation of Decatur & Macon County)

Illinois’ Climate and Equitable Jobs Act, promises a massive shift away from fossil fuels. It will transform the state's energy sector into one that produces zero carbon emissions by 2050. It includes provisions to foster electric vehicle use and workforce development for a growing “green economy.”


The River Ridge Development Authority and Mid-America Rail Storage and Leasing have reached an agreement that will end Mid-America’s lease of rail assets at River Ridge Commerce Center.  River Ridge is home to more than 60 firms with over 10,500 workers. (Jerry Acy, executive director, River Ridge)

Duke Energy says they have picked four Indiana counties for their Site Readiness Program, including 50 acres in Posey County. The program gets business and industrial sites ready for economic development investments. (Jenna Richardt, executive director Posey County Economic Development Partnership)

A delegation from the United Arab Emirates will this week visit the United States and one top official will make a stop in Indiana. UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi is set to meet with representatives from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (David Behr, Linda Walczak, Trevor Lane, Alex Miller, Matt Saltanovitz, , Susan Vaughn)

Manufacturing is the Evansville-Henderson area's economic backbone. In the pandemic-dominated year 2020, total gross domestic produced by the five counties came to about $20.6 billion, down about 3.3% from 2019. The biggest share of that, nearly $6.8 billion, came from the manufacturing sector. (Tara Barney, co-CEO Evansville Regional Economic Partnership; Missy Vanderpool, executive director Henderson Economic Development; Greg Wathen, co-CEO of EREP)


The finalists have been announced in the Warren County Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Grant Contest, in both the existing business and start-up business categories. (Executive Director Rachel Gocken)

Phase four of the Council Bluffs riverfront project will aim to enhance the local economy and community while also keeping and attracting new residents. During the riverfront’s two-year construction phase, the project can support 1,337 jobs annually and 3,249 jobs annually during the 30-year operation phase, boosting state and local taxes by $131.7 million.

Clear Lake City Council is moving ahead with two economic development projects.

Newton, Iowa, is a much different place almost a decade and a half after the city lost its Fortune 500 company, Maytag. “Some days you could walk through the town and almost hear a pin drop,” Newton Main Street Director Erin Yeager recalled. “There was a lot of sorrow in town. It wasn’t just your dad or your mom, it was your entire family that worked (at Maytag), so everyone lost their job here as small businesses were also tied to Maytag.” (Craig Armstrong, economic development specialist for Newton)

The Cedar Rapids City Council will consider approving preliminary terms and public financial incentives of a $71 million mixed-use development. The project would transform an empty tract of city land into a downtown destination. (Caleb Mason, Interim Economic Development Manager)


Leavenworth County commissioners are looking to hire an economic development administrator for the county. The funds for the new position will come from a source that traditionally has been used to provide funding for the Leavenworth County Port Authority and Leavenworth County Development Corporation. (Steve Jack, executive director Leavenworth County Development Corporation)

Governor Laura Kelly announced Kansas has received Area Development’s Top 20 States for Doing Business recognition for 2021 – the first time in Kansas history the state has made the Top 20 list. (Lieutenant Governor and Commerce Secretary David Toland)


Kentucky’s Economic Development Cabinet hopes to attract a big company — or maybe more than one — to a 1,550-acre mega-site it owns in Hardin County. That’s one reason why the legislature last week approved a $410 million state incentives package to help cover construction costs and worker training. (Larry Hayes, Economic Development Secretary; Jim Waters, president and CEO Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions)

The City of Burnside took a big first step on Monday toward further development of the community with the introduction of an ordinance creating the "Dream Big Burnside Authority." (Chris Girdler, President and CEO SPEDA)

Officials with the Green River Area Development District say their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy update will be available for public comment on Monday. (Joanna Shake, executive director Green River Area Development District)


USDA Rural Development is investing more than $500,000 in seven organizations through the Rural Business Development Grant. These funds will promote economic development activities in rural Maine communities.

A Maine foundation is slated to receive $750,000 through the National Park Service to revitalize and preserve downtowns in the state.  The park service’s Paul Bruhn Historic Revitalization Grants Program is providing the money to the Maine Development Foundation.


Baltimore City is seeking feedback on its comprehensive economic development strategy called “Baltimore Together: A Platform for Inclusive Prosperity.” (Colin Tabert, CEO Baltimore Development Corporation)


The town’s Economic Development Director, Melisa Tintocalis, presented the Select Board with a year-in-review regarding the state of the economy in Burlington.


Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to announce that Walbro, a global leader in engine management and fuel systems, is expanding in Cass City with support from the Michigan Strategic Fund. The project is expected to result in a total capital investment of $11.4 million and create up to 40 advanced manufacturing jobs. (Stephen Erickson, executive director Tuscola County Economic Development Corporation; Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO Michigan Economic Development Corporation)

A small business in Charlevoix has been given a $25,000 grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Flint and surrounding communities are invited to support small businesses by attending the upcoming “Food Truck Friday” event. The Department of Economic Development planned this event in collaboration with the Flint Downtown Development Authority as a way to engage, support, and promote local businesses in the city as part of the “Enjoy. Shop. Love. FLINT – Support small businesses” initiative. (Khalfani Stephens, economic development director; Kiaira May, executive director Flint Downtown Development Authority)

The Economic Club of Marquette County kicked off their featured speakers events for 2021 Monday night. Marty Fittante, CEO for Invest UP, was the speaker. “No matter what your role is, find a space to help your community and advance economic development, I think we can all, in different ways, be economic developers, the challenge really is how can you contribute to building out relationships and advancing community opportunity,” said Fittante.

While population loss might seem surprising in light of Marquette County’s new development and business growth, it’s been predicted for decades. It’s hard to overstate how much these population changes matter – to our schools and university whose funding is tied to enrollment, to employers that need a workforce, to aging residents that need health care and services, to local governments that need tax revenue to support existing infrastructure, to our political representation in Lansing and Washington, to future business prospects that consider population dynamics before choosing a location. (Sarah Lucas, CEO Lake Superior Community Partnership)

Gun Lake Casino, in Wayland, opened a $100M expansion featuring new restaurants, more seating for live concerts and sporting events, and additional gaming space.


The Greater Minnesota Partnership elected Amy Baldwin to serve as president. (Scott McMahon, executive director GMNP)

After more than a decade with a shade of green as its color, the Brainerd Lakes Area Economic Development Corporation has unveiled a new logo and colors. (Tyler Glynn, executive director)

Minnesota’s Iron Range may soon be home to one of the largest solar panel manufacturing facilities in the country.

Gov. Tim Walz on Tuesday launched a new state Council on Economic Expansion to recommend to him and the 2022 Legislature steps for the public, private and nonprofit sectors to rebuild the state’s economy for all Minnesotans.


Representatives from the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce, Economic Development Foundation and the United Way of Jackson and George Counties all visited the Board of Supervisors meeting to unveil more details about P3: PASSION. PURPOSE. PAYCHECK. (Mary Martha Henson, Deputy Director Jackson County Economic Development Foundation; Paige Roberts, President & CEO Jackson County Chamber of Commerce)


St. Louis Development Corp. will pay a contractor up to $150,000 to develop an “economic justice action plan,” to prioritize its work and also coordinate its use of federal stimulus dollars with efforts to raise private capital. (Neal Richardson, executive director SLDC; Otis Williams, former executive director SLDC; Daffney Moore, chief of staff)

Thermo Fisher Scientific will invest $82.5 million to expand operations and create 169 new jobs at its biologic drug substance manufacturing facility in St. Louis County. (Rodney Crim, CEO and President St. Louis Economic Development Partnership)

Palmyra City Council members approved the next step toward establishing a Community Improvement District with a reimbursable payment to begin economic development for the program in partnership with the Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council. (Corey Mehaffy, executive director, HREDC)


U.S. Senator Jon Tester today announced $175,000 in Economic Development Administration funding for Lake County Community Development Corporation in Ronan, to establish an economic development planning process, that will support private capital investment in the region and create jobs in Lake County and on the Flathead Reservation. (Brenna Fulks, Community & Economic Development Director for the Mission West Community Development Partners)

Shelly R. Fyant was elected as the new Chair of the Montana State Tribal Economic Development Commission. (Scott Osterman, Montana Department of Commerce)


The city of Gering was honored as an Economic Development Certified Community for manufacturing, hospitality expansion projects. (Tim O’Brien, Nebraska Diplomats President; Brittany Hardin, West Central Representative, Office of Governor)


The Mesquite City Council on Tuesday night voted 3-2 against an extension of the contract of Citywide Consulting to provide economic development services for the city. (Jonas Peterson, president & CEO Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance; Cody Law, CEO Citywide Consulting)

New Jersey

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority and Princeton-based venture capital firm SOSV intend to form a new entity, HAX LLC, which will bring SOSV’s acclaimed HAX hard tech startup development program to Newark. SOSV will also establish the US headquarters of the HAX program at the Newark site. The program is expected to help 100 companies over the next five years and create 2,500 jobs over 10 years. (NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan)

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority and PSEG have signed a lease allowing for a term of up to 78-years on land that will be home to the New Jersey Wind Port in Salem County, New Jersey, further positioning the state as a hub for clean energy and the U.S. offshore wind industry. The port will provide a location for essential staging, assembly, and manufacturing activities related to offshore wind along the East Coast. The Wind Port is located adjacent to PSEG’s nuclear generating site, which today provides more than 90% of New Jersey’s carbon-free electricity, and together, offshore wind and nuclear energy will deliver powerful support for our state and national clean energy ambitions. (NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan)

The Hunterdon County Board of Commissioners has approved a grant to High Bridge designed to help build the borough’s economy. The $9,162 grant will be used to work with Borough planners to develop rules that can drive investment in the downtown business district. According to Hunterdon County Economic Development Director Marc Saluk, High Bridge’s efforts are very consistent with County’s economic development initiative.

Somerset County will merge the Planning Division and Office of Economic Development to create a new Office of Planning, Policy and Economic Development reporting directly to Somerset County Administrator Colleen Mahr. The new Office will be led by Walter Lane, under whose direction the Somerset County Planning Division is a recognized planning leader in New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority announced the NJEDA’s participation in four regional coalitions preparing applications for the U.S. Economic Development Authority’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge.

New Mexico

New Mexico Tech has named Myrriah Tomar to an economic development role at the university. As the executive director of the Office of Innovation Commercialization Business and Technology Management at New Mexico Tech, Tomar will focus on the university's efforts to foster startup activity.

The head of the New Mexico Chamber of Commerce contended a consistent, predictable regulatory atmosphere is vital to state growth. Rob Black, president and CEO of the chamber, made the observation in relation to a plan by Facebook to expand its data storage plant in Los Lunas. That proposal largely won passage from the Public Regulation Commission this summer. But a related proposal for energy storage on the Facebook campus met resistance from the commission and denial in its final order.

Employers across the state are still in desperate need of workers after the extra federal unemployment money ran out Labor Day weekend. The Chaves County Economic Development Corporation held a job fair where 50 businesses had hundreds of open positions they were trying to fill.

The City of Albuquerque’s work to increase available housing stock advanced yesterday, moving 191 downtown apartment units closer to groundbreaking. ‘The Downtowner,’ a six-story residential project intended to fill a critical gap for workforce housing secured the recommendation of the Albuquerque Development Commission.

A summary compiled by New Mexico economic development officials shows that San Juan County's matched taxable gross receipts are increasing, although the county's economic recovery doesn't appear to be moving as quickly as that of other counties in the state. (Economists Joel Salas and Ryan Eustice)

The City of Albuquerque announced that over $4 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding will be made available for families who were previously excluded from federal stimulus aid. Mayor Keller and Economic Development Interim Director Damian Lara joined a Spanish language virtual town hall hosted by El CENTRO de Igualdad y Derechos, a grassroots immigrant rights and workers justice organization that works with Latino immigrant communities, to announce the fund. Applications for the CABQ Community Impact Fund 2021 are open now.

New York

The Otsego County Chamber of Commerce is working to connect the dots every day in the realm of economic development, sustainable workforce support and retaining and recruiting people to their county. (Al Rubin, interim president and chief executive officer of Otsego County Chamber of Commerce)

In the heart of downtown Rochester sits the only community kitchen in Monroe County. Launched in October 2020 in the Sibley Building, The Commissary is Rochester’s first food business incubator. The project was first conceived in 2016 by a group of economic development and urban planning experts that visited Rochester who recommended it to Rochester Downtown Development Corporation. Heidi Zimmer-Meyer, the President of RDDC, and Laura Fox O’Sullivan, Vice President, loved the idea.

The Wayne Economic Development Corporation is gearing up to help kick start one more local, new business through the annual StartUp Pitch Competition. The winning applicant will receive $25,000.  The Startup Pitch Competition is open to all Wayne County residents with a business in the concept stage, or with less than three years in operation, and less than $250,000 in annual revenue.  (Katie Bronson, Deputy Director of the WEDC)

The Center for an Urban Future recently published a blueprint for an equitable recovery that features concrete policy ideas from a diverse mix of 175 engaged New Yorkers. Some of the nearly 250 ideas they received would help create jobs right now or support the New Yorkers hardest hit by the pandemic, while others would lay the foundation for a stronger and more inclusive economy over the long run. (Jonathan Bowles, Executive Director of Center for an Urban Future)

North Carolina

The Town of Leland will give developers of a new subdivision $140,400 to speed up construction. This came after leaders voted unanimously to annex the 90 acre property, located off US 74-76. Economic and community development director Gary Vidmar says this agreement will allow the town to have more control over the project and speed up construction, bringing in tax revenue sooner than expected.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Kevin M. Guskiewicz and Town of Chapel Hill Mayor Pam Hemminger announced during a Chancellor’s Economic Development Council meeting a series of steps that the University and town are taking to increase the economic vibrancy of downtown Chapel Hill.  The announced actions are next phases in the university-town partnership and joint Carolina Economic Development Strategy, which was launched in the spring.

Economic developers in Wake County are having an exceptional year with significant announcements for facilities and new jobs. But the even better news is that the pipeline for future projects continues to be quite promising. So as the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce gathers for its annual meeting Tuesday afternoon, the head of economic development has plenty of good news to share. (Michael Haley, Wake County Economic Development)

North Dakota

“Housing is always one question on where these people are going to live,” said Corry Shevlin, business development director for Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corporation. “This is the beginning step of putting some numbers together of seeing if there is any JSDC contribution to this issue that is facing the city and the county.”  Shevlin said in a memo on Sept. 7 to the JSDC Existing Business Committee that the request of the $50,000 would be funded 100% by the city of Jamestown from the economic development fund.

Williston Economic Development are launching a new social media campaign to promote the STAR Fund’s Mini Match program and its recipients. The STAR Fund programs are funded through a one percent city sale tax. 75 percent of the sales tax proceeds is dedicated to infrastructure debt relief while 25 percent is dedicated to jobs creation and community development. The STAR Fund is administered by a seven-member board which meets the first Tuesday of every month.


Only about 52 percent of Ohio’s college graduates stay in the state, said J.P. Nauseef, president and CEO of JobsOhio, who spoke by video during the hybrid in-person and virtual Talent Attraction and Retention Forum held at Sinclair Community College. (Jennifer Todd-Goynes, senior consultant for TIP Strategies; Jared Ebbing, Mercer County community and economic development director; Rick Pearce, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce Middletown, Monroe, Trenton)

Long Ridge Energy Terminal, in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development and Monroe County Economic Development Wednesday announced that the Ohio Tax Credit Authority granted it a 75-percent, 10-year Data Center Sales Tax Exemption. (OhioSE President Mike Jacoby)

The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio has filed a rezoning application with Grove City to develop a 350-acre Green Economy Business Park, advancing plans it pitched last year. (Jim Schimmer, director of Franklin County Economic Development and Planning)

The board of the Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority this week officially changed the organization’s name to the Lake Development Authority. (Executive Director David Anderson)

Butech Bliss has acquired both LM Equipment & Design, and Lehmann Mills. The two companies share the same facilities in Salem.  Butech Bliss gave special thanks to The Sustainable Opportunity Development Center, Salem’s economic development organization, which assisted Butech Bliss with several resources during the acquisition of Lehman Mills. (Julie Needs, SOD Center Executive Director)

The outgoing head of the Cleveland NAACP has been picked to lead Franklin County’s efforts to test innovative ideas for eradicating poverty. Danielle Sydnor will serve as the first chief executive officer of the Rise Together Innovation Center, a capstone of a larger, county-funded strategic plan to help an estimated 400,000-plus county residents find paths toward economic stability.


Select Oklahoma has launched a new website to help streamline online access to business opportunities. Its goal of the site,, is to provide information about the organization, as well as guiding new business opportunities to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for location and expansion assistance. Select Oklahoma, an Economic Development Partnership, Inc., was formed February 2021. The new organization merged the Oklahoma Professional Economic Development Council and the Governor's Economic Development Marketing Team.

Muskogee City councilors revisited the idea of moving the city's economic development activities under the purview of the Muskogee Redevelopment Authority. The concept appears similar to a proposal approved a couple of years ago, when revenue dedicated for marketing tourism and those duties were transferred to the authority. The experiment was short-lived, and both the money and responsibilities were transferred again into a newly created public trust.


The City of Bend is seeking interested residents to fill up to two one-year appointments for alternate positions on the Bend Economic Development Advisory Board. The BEDAB provides a private sector perspective in advising the Bend City Council on topics related to business development and economic growth. The Board is also charged with aiding in the organization of City economic development resources, facilitating entrepreneurial support between community organizations, and oversight of existing City agreements with Economic Development for Central Oregon and Visit Bend. (Ben Hemson, City of Bend’s Business Advocate)

Lakeview Community Partnership hosted two community meetings last week to gather input from business owners and other members of the public on development of downtown Lakeview. LCP Executive Director Ginger Casto and Bridge Economic Development President Alisa Pyszka led the meeting.

Caprielle Lewis, who has served as the Sisters area director for economic development for Central Oregon (EDCO) for the past eight years, has accepted a new position with Business Oregon. Lewis will be the Central Oregon Regional Development Officer, replacing Carolyn Meece who recently retired.


The old saying, “the grass is greener on the other side,” is a phrase that many people state when they feel frustrated with the community they live in, with people stating that about Lawrence County. However, for Alex McCoy, CEO of the Lawrence County Regional Chamber of Commerce, he believes the county’s “grass” is just as green, as there are more positives to the county than people may believe. As previously reported, the chamber hired Jay Garner of Garner Economics LLC of Atlanta to do a competitive realities report on the positives, negatives and neutral aspects of the county.

The 2021 Indicators Report, compiled by The Institute for Public Policy & Economic Development at Wilkes University, found that the energy industry is integral to the region’s economy — that it has a strong footprint and contributes a significant amount of impact, and growth in this area will benefit the region as a whole. (Executive Director Terri Ooms)

Rhode Island

Members of the town’s Economic Development Commission have crafted a preliminary 25-year plan to redesign the Exit 90 gateway to improve branding, enhance pedestrian safety and aid in the long-term redevelopment of the Route 27 corridor. Now the commission is seeking input from the public to gauge interest and allow the town to move forward on a plan that will benefit the entire community. (Stonington Economic Development Commission Chairman David Hammond)

South Carolina

The Town of Summerville on Monday began “office hours” with Economic Development Manager Michael Lisle. Residents are invited to chat with Lisle about topics like starting and growing businesses in Summerville as well as finding the right location for a business.

Grower-owned peanut shelling company Premium Peanut will invest $64.3 million in Orangeburg County to establish operations, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster's office said. The investment is expected to create 130 jobs. The new facility will be the largest peanut shelling operation in South Carolina, Orangeburg County Council Chairman Johnnie Wright Sr. said. The Coordinating Council for Economic Development approved undisclosed job development credits for the project.

Jasper County is planning to present three projects that officials think are important for future development in hopes of receiving funding from the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In 2019, the department was allocated $65 million for rural infrastructure by the S.C. Legislature. The funds would facilitate economic development in eligible counties, based on population decline and poverty rates, according to the Joint Bond Review Committee. Those counties include Jasper, Hampton, Allendale and Barnwell.

South Dakota

Communities in Minnehaha and Lincoln Counties now have a hub for resources related to all things growth and economic development: (Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance)


Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bob Rolfe and Kelvion Inc. officials announced that the global heat exchanger manufacturer will expand its operations in Knoxville. (John Bradley, senior vice president of TVA Economic Development)

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration is awarding a $1.8 million grant to the city of Dunlap, to provide upgrades and new equipment to the wastewater treatment plant, supporting economic growth and job creation. This EDA project, to be matched with $440,000 in local funds, is expected to create 160 jobs, retain 315 jobs and generate $28.2 million in private investment.  This project was made possible by the regional planning efforts led by the Southeast Tennessee Development District.


The San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce is the nation's oldest and largest organization of its kind, making its mark in the Alamo City by advocating for small businesses, fostering relationships, and spotlighting local successes. (Marina Gonzales, President and CEO of SAHCC)

The Galveston Wharves Board and Galveston City Council recognize the port’s Pelican Island property is a growth opportunity for the City of Galveston, Galveston County and Houston's economies. Earlier this year, Galveston City Council rated general maritime industry growth and Pelican Island specifically as top economic development priorities. (Dane Carlson, Galveston County Economic Development)

Nearly three years after taking on the role as CEO of San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside, or SAGE, Tuesdae Knight said she is stepping down from the organization to spend time with an ailing out-of-state family member.

A McLennan County economic development prospect called “Project Darwin Biggest” would invest $3.5 billion and create about 4,200 jobs, but there is no guarantee it will choose Central Texas. The project appears as a monthly economic development update on the Tuesday agenda for the McLennan County Commissioners Court. The report is prepared and presented by Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development with the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.

New Braunfels City Council members on this week gave initial approval to a proposal creating a tax increment reinvestment zone in the downtown area for 25 years. (Jeff Jewell, the city’s economic and community development director)

Stephenville Type B Economic Development Authority is receiving a $100,000 grant to conduct 81 bioenergy and energy efficiency site assessments for rural agricultural producers. These site assessments will provide analysis to make energy-efficiency improvements to these operations and/or install renewable energy systems.

Corpus Christi City Manager Peter Zanoni said he is setting up an economic development office at City Hall so that small business owners will finally have a place to turn to for answers and help. It is something Zanoni said he has wanted to do for a long time, and he's hoping it will help get the word out around the state that Corpus Christi is small business friendly.

The Southern Economic Development Council has announced the recipients of its annual Community Economic Development Awards. The City of Fate, Texas entry was the winner in the category of communities 5,001 to 15,000 in population. (Suzy Lawrence, Economic & Community Development Specialist)

City officials say there are so many people who want to bring businesses to Nederland that the Economic Development Corporation is having a hard time finding space. (Executive Director Kay DeCuir)


At a time when Vermonters are surveying the economic damage caused by the COVID-19 crisis, UVM’s Office of Engagement and Center for Rural Studies have released the Vermont Economic Development Roundtables Report Amplifying Vermont’s Economic Resilience. The report identifies current and future challenges to the Vermont economy, and makes recommendations to ensure a strong and sustained recovery. Workforce pay and availability is a constant theme. And in every roundtable, the issue of race, equity, inclusion, and belonging arose as a key element of community economic development in Vermont. (Lori Smith, Vermont Futures Project Director)

The Department of Tourism and Marketing has announced the launch of the Tourism and Economic Recovery Marketing Grant Program. The Tourism and Economic Recovery Marketing Grants are funded through a $600,000 appropriation by the Vermont Legislature to provide grants to organizations in support of efforts and activities related to regional tourism marketing to aid recovery from COVID-19.


In 1968, when the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission was created as an Economic Development District under the U.S. Economic Development Administration, the four member counties of Buchanan, Dickenson, Russell and Tazewell were facing difficult challenges.  Those challenges, which were largely due to the loss of thousands of coal mining jobs brought on by mechanization, involved the lack of adequate infrastructure (public water, sewer, industrial sites, etc.) to support job creation and growth to offset dramatic population losses during the 1950s and ’60s. During the past 53 years, government leaders in the Cumberland Plateau have worked together with regional, state and federal elected officials and agencies to address these difficult challenges, challenges made more daunting by our mountainous terrain and remote location. That willingness to work collaboratively and to think “outside the box” is finally paying off. (Jim Baldwin is Executive Director for the Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission)

The Nature Conservancy and Dominion Energy Virginia are developing one of the first utility-scale solar projects on former surface mines in the coalfields of southwest Virginia. “This project is a huge win for southwest Virginia’s economy,” says Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “It’s also another major step toward building a 100 percent clean energy economy in Virginia. Repurposing former coal mines for solar is a smart way to enhance the region’s economy and bring renewables to southwest Virginia.”

Warren County may soon create its own department to oversee economic development. County Administrator Edwin Daley explained to members of the Board of Supervisors at a work session on Tuesday some proposed changes that would affect the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority. A new arrangement under consideration would shift certain responsibilities to a county government department.

The Rockingham City Council on Tuesday approved a $25,000 loan. The loan is through the Urban Development Action Grant fund, a revolving-door loan for economic development. The fund was established after the federal government loaned money to a local industry for expansion in the 1970s. That money was then paid back to the city to use for loans to small businesses.

Floyd County Board of Supervisors members and officials from the Economic Development Authority participated in a ground breaking ceremony at the Floyd Growth Center Campus. After the short speeches, Supervisors, EDA members, Economic Director Lydeana Martin and others pushed their shovels into the ground and sent dirt flying to mark the event.

A draft of an economic development strategy for the Town of Vienna has been released and will be discussed at an upcoming meeting in September. The town has put a greater focus on economic development with the hiring of its first economic development manager Natalie Monkou in late 2019. In early 2021, Vienna Town Council voted to contract with real estate strategy firm Streetsense to conduct a market study and create an economic development strategy.


The Washington State Community Economic Revitalization Board approved $8,272,040 million in grants and $1,975,000 in low-interest loans for planning, economic development and rural broadband infrastructure construction projects. (CERB Chair Randy Hayden, Washington State Commerce Director Lisa Brown)

U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell, announced a $1 million federal grant for the Lacey MakerSpace in Thurston County from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration.  The Lacey MakerSpace operates as an innovation lab for small business owners, artists and entrepreneurs in Thurston County. It operates in partnership with the Thurston Economic Development Council Center for Business and Innovation, the City of Lacey, and St. Martin’s University.

West Virginia

New River Gorge Regional Development Authority has identified five priorities with a focus on creating a regional coal-to-products commercialization initiative in the state’s most negatively impacted coal communities. (Jina Belcher, executive director of NRGRDA)

Gov. Jim Justice announced that West Virginia’s small business owners and entrepreneurs can now find the right resources to support their success in one convenient online space: West Virginia BusinessLink. It was created by the West Virginia Department of Economic Development, Small Business Development Center, and Entrepreneurship Ecosystem. (William J. “Bill” Woodrum, coordinator of the WV Entrepreneurship Network)

Gov. Jim Justice announced that CS Global Group, a Turkish Mining company that specializes in barite manufacturing and sales, has chosen Moundsville, West Virginia, as the location for its first manufacturing plant in the United States. (Mitch Carmichael, Secretary of the West Virginia Department of Economic Development)

Both aspiring entrepreneurs and experienced business owners in Wheeling have the opportunity to learn how best to position their products and ideas for a new era. Applications are now being accepted for the sixth round of CO.STARTERS — a 10-week education program for entrepreneurs and small business owners organized by the Regional Economic Development Partnership. (Valerie Piko, program development manager with RED)

“We are trying to transform a region that is looking at generational change,” said Stephanie Tyree, executive director of the West Virginia Community Development Hub. The “we” Tyree was referencing gathered virtually Thursday morning for an Appalachian Regional Commission webinar focused on revitalizing coal communities throughout the region and touting the commission’s grant package designed to leverage workforce development and infrastructure to create jobs and attract new sources of investment where they’re sorely needed.


Fond du Lac’s economic development officials — faced with the reality of an aging workforce, 25% of whom will be aged 65 or older in the next 10 years — recently created a Worker Relocation Incentive Program to attract professionals to move to the area. Economic problems caused by COVID-19 restrictions also contributed to the city’s decision to start the program.

St. Croix Economic Development Corporation proclaimed Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021 as Craft Brewery Day in St. Croix County, Wisconsin. The EDC will recognize six breweries in the county with proclamations signed by board President Angela Popenhagen and Executive Director Bill Rubin.

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