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32 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 105 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
26 min read
32 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Patrick Donnelly / Unsplash

Welcome to the 32nd 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 105 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states and Canada.


Alabama

Fayette, Lamar and Marion counties in northwest Alabama are adding new jobs and investments within their diverse industrial bases, and more economic growth is on the horizon for the region. Five new projects and three expansions will add 530 jobs and $26.6 million in investment. (Tom Wisemiller, president and CEO of the Northwest Alabama EDA; Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce)

Arizona

A new Arizona Commerce Authority report says for fiscal year 2021, which ended June 30, the economic development organization worked with companies that set records for the most jobs created and the most investment in a 12-month period. The ACA assisted companies that committed to creating more than 23,300 jobs and investing $24.8 billion.

It’s not unusual for cities to offer businesses sweetheart deals – or incentives – to get them to move or set up their companies inside their borders. In exchange, the cities get jobs, economic activity and an increase of tax dollars. But the rules for doing that in Arizona changed earlier this year. “I can tell you throughout the United States, this is the most restrictive laws on use of economic development incentives,” said Kelly Schwab, Chandler’s city attorney. “Arizona is no longer on an even playing field with the rest of the country.”

Arkansas

The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has awarded $6.42 million in Community Development Block Grants to 26 Arkansas cities and counties. According to a news release from the AEDC, the grants were awarded under the General Assistance set-aside, part of Arkansas’ $18.4 million 2020 formula grant allocation. The grant allocation is designed to provide communities the opportunity to apply for non-housing public facility and public infrastructure projects.

California

When it comes to water, the city of Tehachapi doesn’t want all of its proverbial eggs in one basket and is working on several fronts to ensure an adequate supply. That was the message from Development Services Director Jay Schlosser in a report to the Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council on Oct. 6. Schlosser said the Groundwater Sustainability Project initiated by the city of Tehachapi in 2019 is moving forward. The plan is to upgrade treatment of the city’s wastewater to tertiary level, then return it to the ground to eventually become part of the potable water supply.

Tim McCall, Chairman of the Antioch Economic Development Commission, is calling for the resignation of City Council Member Torres-Walker. He claims her multiple displays of poor judgement in the City of Antioch is negatively affecting the Cities ability to attract and retain business which supply jobs and goods to the residents and community.

Every Tulare County city signed on with the county’s Economic Development Corporation for the 2021-2022 fiscal year, marking the first time in more than a year that all municipalities are investing in the economic development organization. (EDC President and CEO Nathan Ahle)

Canada

The City of Surrey has been recognized, for the first time, in two award categories by the International Economic Development Council. The two awards are: Gold Award for the Surrey Makes PPE Program – recognizing the City’s efforts to create economic opportunity and resilience for local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic; Silver Award for the Surrey SparkBIZ Program – recognizing excellence in business retention and expansion efforts, as well as effective engagement with the local business community.

Colorado

After a national search, the Downtown Denver Partnership on Monday announced Kourtny Garrett from Dallas will take over for Tami Door as president and CEO of the economic development group. Garrett served as president and CEO of Downtown Dallas Inc. for the past six years.

The Northern Colorado Regional Economic Development Initiative has won a bronze Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council. (Rich Werner, CEO and president of Upstate Colorado)

Six months into his role as executive director of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade, Pat Meyers isn’t ready to make major overhauls. But he is ready to take statewide ideas and bear down on what can work best in specific parts of the state. Meyers, who served as chief of staff for former Gov. John Hickenlooper following a long career in the private sector and then helped Gov. Jared Polis with early-pandemic recovery programs, received his appointment in April after OEDIT director Betsy Markey stepped away.

Connecticut

Two towns. Two common goals. One person tasked with helping each reach that goal: Guilford and Madison announced they've named Sheri Cote as the "newly established" Guilford-Madison Economic Development Director.

A task force’s year-long dialogue with consultants about socioeconomic data needed to plan the city’s next decade has left unanswered what vision people have for Danbury’s future who live here, work here and visit here. The task force has launched a survey seeking the public’s priorities for the economy, housing, transportation, recreation, culture, nature, and city services in the 2020s.

Florida

The Economic Development Administration awarded a $2.8 million CARES Act Recovery Assistance grant to Osceola to make water and wastewater improvements to support the region’s growing steel sector. This EDA grant, to be matched with $955,405 in local funds, is expected to create 100 jobs and generate $2 billion in private investment.

The Jacksonville City Council will vote Tuesday on an economic development agreement with Jaguars owner Shad Khan that would build a five-star luxury hotel on the St. Johns River near the sports complex. The deal would require about $114 million from city taxpayers for economic incentives and upgrades to public facilities.

Monday morning, Brian Baluta, director of communications and partner relations for the Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast, touted Brevard's recent economic boon during a breakfast speech to the Space Coast Association of Realtors in Palm Shores. Baluta told a crowd that Brevard has recently benefited from "an embarrassment of riches" on the economic development front, even in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. "In terms of people betting on the Space Coast, we had 13 hotel projects move forward during the pandemic. I think people have a lot of confidence in the future here because the fundamentals are good," said Baluta.

The Sarasota County Economic Development Corp. has added a number of new members to its board of directors and voted in a new slate of board officers.

An unnamed Fortune 500 company currently located in the Northeast is aiming to relocate its global headquarters to St. Petersburg — bringing with it hundreds of high-paying new jobs. The city of St. Petersburg, along with the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp., has been working with a site selection firm to bring the company to the area, according to city documents. Under the code name Project Athena, the company is seeking financial incentives of up to $475,000 from the city to create at least 300 jobs. (JP DuBuque, president and CEO of the St. Petersburg Area Economic Development Corp.)

The Economic Development Commission of Florida’s Space Coast announced its slate of officers for its Fiscal Year 2021/2022. Officers guide the EDC towards established strategic goals as it works on behalf of the community to create opportunities for the county, local businesses and citizens. (Lynda L. Weatherman, President and CEO EDC)

Georgia

The Savannah Economic Development Authority decided to keep a program going that they hope will make Savannah the home to even more TV and film productions. The rebate incentive approved unanimously Friday morning is in addition to that state tax credit. That’s hundreds of thousands of dollars SEDA allocated to help sweeten the deal for production companies that will be extended through to next year, which helps offset additional costs to film companies having to bring in their own crews and equipment. (Hugh "Trip" Tollison, CEO SEDA; Beth Nelson, executive director for the Savannah Regional Film Commission)

The Development Authority of Dawson County approved a key measure to help the Dawson Chamber of Commerce in the search for a new Director of Economic Development to replace Betsy McGriff. (Gary Coates, director DADC; Mandy Power, president and CEO Dawson Chamber of Commerce)

Hiawassee City Council tabled the discussion of a new economic development role exclusively for the city. (Denise McKay, Economic Development Director at City of Hiawassee, City of Young Harris and Towns County; Darren Harper, program manager; Blairsville Downtown Development Authority)

It won’t be too much longer before construction is underway on a mixed-use development that will be located on the former Olympic Tennis Center site near Stone Mountain, according to Gwinnett County Director of Economic Development Roman Dakare.

Illinois

Two Chicago organizations working to support and grow the local technology industry have landed federal grants to finance startup accelerator programs. Matter, a Chicago incubator for health care startups, and the Discovery Partners Institute, a University of Illinois unit aimed at commercializing faculty research, were granted $1.3 million and $1.5 million, respectively, from the U.S. Economic Development Administration. (Matter CEO Steve Collens)

The city of Springfield's longtime tax increment finance district administrator has a new role with a local economic development agency. Abby Powell has joined the Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance as business director. The position was created for Powell, who helped local businesses take advantage of TIF district benefits and money for eight years with the city.

Tents line the streets of downtown Evanston nearly every weekend from May through November, selling local products like pasta, tomatoes, flowers and apple cider. But soon, the Downtown Evanston Farmers’ Market may relocate, prompting concern from some vendors and customers. The 46-year-old market is currently located at ​​the intersection of University Place and Oak Avenue. In February, the city’s economic development committee began discussing moving the market to Fountain Square, which Market Manager Myra Gorman said may create challenges for vendors.  “Some of these farmers are older farmers — they don’t want to start all over again,” Gorman said. “If this move goes through, we’re going to see a lot of our senior farmers not returning, which would be a shame.” At this point, there is no clear time frame or guarantee of any move, said Annie Coakley, Downtown Evanston executive director.

State Rep. Dave Vella has filed a bill to beef up economic development incentives to help Illinois attract more of the electric vehicle market.

Indiana

An economic development agreement for the construction of a $120 million solar farm near Millersburg was unanimously approved Saturday by the Elkhart County Council members. The next step for the project is to win approval from the Elkhart County Commissioners for the property rezoning needed. The commissioners are expected to take up the matter Monday morning.

Dimension Mill, Bloomington’s nonprofit center for entrepreneurship and coworking, announced that it was awarded a $399,650 Build to Scale grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA). The grant will allow The Mill to grow its existing investment fund for early-stage startups, Flywheel Fund, and create a second fund called Turbine. (Executive Director Pat East)

One Dearborn Inc. is partnering with Purdue Extension to launch a community economic development program in Dearborn County. The organization says the goal of the Dearborn County Business Retention & Expansion Program is to engage local businesses and fuel economic development. In the first cycle of the BR&E program, the partners will focus on businesses in the agricultural and food and beverage processing industries in Dearborn County. One Dearborn says businesses will have the opportunity to share their views of the local business community, which will be used for future planning. (Mike Perleberg, executive director of One Dearborn Inc.)

Kansas

Elected officials from the Hays area emphasized the need for improvements to bridge at the U.S. Highway 183 Bypass and Interstate 70 interchange during a Kansas Department of Transportation feedback session on Wednesday. The bridge reconstruction, which would be a $19 million project, would be an extension of the Northwest Business Corridor Project. The business corridor project is aimed at diverting commercial traffic and oversized loads around the City of Hays. (Doug Williams, Grow Hays director)

Economic Development Directors and community leaders from the Lake Region Resource Conservation and Development, shared ideas and information on promoting economic development during a meeting in Ottawa last month. Representatives from Franklin, Linn, Anderson, Miami, Osage and Coffey Counties were in attendance. This was the first event of its type in the area and it was organized by Paul Bean, the Franklin County Economic Development Director.

Kentucky

Pike County Judge-Executive Ray Jones and County Attorney Kevin Keene have asked a federal judge to give the county summary judgment and allow the two men behind a failed economic development project which cost the county hundreds of thousands of dollars to be personally liable.

Kentucky and Tennessee landed new, multibillion-dollar electric vehicle and battery manufacturing plants in September, but they didn't come cheap. Both states offered several hundred million dollars in incentives to Ford Motor Co. to get the prized plants. Will it be worth it? According to multiple economics experts The Courier Journal contacted, the answer to that question is likely "yes."

Louisiana

We Make Good Stuff. That’s the message Louisiana Central wants to send out about manufacturing in the 10-parish area that it represents. Formerly known as CLEDA (Central Louisiana Economic Development Alliance), the regional economic development organization was rebranded as Louisiana Central earlier this year. The new name gives the organization an identity that is consistent, memorable and distinctive because they spend a lot of time, especially in recruitment and development, dealing with a national audience, said Jim Clinton, president and chief executive officer. (Lafe Jones, executive director of industry relations)

People who work to attract new economic development remain optimistic despite southeast Louisiana being hit by Hurricane Ida, growing concerns about flood insurance costs, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Walter Lane, economist University of New Orleans; Ileana Ledet, Sr. V.P. of Public Policy, Greater New Orleans, Inc.; Todd Murphy, President, Jefferson Chamber of Commerce)

Louisiana Economic Development won two awards at the 2021 IEDC Annual Conference in Nashville, with the Small Business Services team earning a Gold Award in Entrepreneurship and LED FastStart earning a Silver Award for Talent Development and Retention. The honors were presented to LED Secretary Don Pierson, Assistant Secretary Mandi Mitchell, Undersecretary Anne Villa and the LED Small Business Services team. IEDC recognized Louisiana for delivering the world's best economic development programs in the largest population category (500,000 and above). For the Entrepreneurship category, the council singled out the LED Growth Network, which focuses on growth-oriented support for second-stage small businesses in Louisiana. In the Talent Development and Retention category, LED FastStart was recognized for its best-in-class talent recruitment and workforce training services. (IEDC CEO Jeff Finkle; LED FastStart Executive Director Paul Helton)

The Committee for 100 for Economic Development, Inc. has selected a new member for the 2022 year: Dr. John George. C100 is a nonpolitical, nonprofit membership group organized as an educational, civic and charitable organization whose members are local high-ranking executives and professionals in northwest Louisiana. George is the Chief Executive Officer for BRF, which is an economic development organization established in north Louisiana and is the destination for high growth initiatives and is responsible for the expansion of economic development initiatives in north Louisiana.

Maine

A research institute in Maine has been awarded $750,000 from the federal government to help marine startups. Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine said the Economic Development Administration awarded the money to Gulf of Maine Research Institute in Portland. She said the money will support the “Gulf of Maine Blue Economy Initiative,” which is designed to help commercialize the startup businesses.

The Economic Development Administration has awarded the University of Southern Maine and the University of Maine $509,000 over five years to fund the University Center for Economic Development, a collaboration of experts from the University of Maine System that will provide technical assistance and research for the implementation of the state’s 10-year economic development strategy. (Andrew Crawley, UMaine assistant professor of regional economic development, Ryan Wallace, Maine Center for Business & Economic Research, director)

Massachusetts

The Williamsburg Select Board signed off on accepting two $20,000 state grants at its meeting Thursday – one for a wage classification plan and another for an economic development assessment. “The state has agreed to fund both of those best practices at $20,000 each,” Town Administrator Nick Caccamo said.

Kara Brewton has been named the Town of Brookline’s next Director of Planning and Community Development. Brewton has served the Town of Brookline as its Economic Development Director since 2008.

Mill Cities Community Investments, part of the MV Strong partnership with the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and Small Business Strong, is among 53 community organizations sharing in $9.7 million in state investment tax credits in support of efforts to increase economic opportunity for low- and moderate-income residents. “The small businesses in our region are the backbone of our communities and faced significant adversity throughout the pandemic, especially women and minority-owned business” said Commission Community and Economic Development Planner Nate Robertson.

Michigan

Paul Krutco, president and CEO of Ann Arbor Spark, wrote an open letter to Lenawee County on attracting new business in light of Ford's decision to invest outside the state of Michigan. (James Van Doren, executive director of Lenawee Now)

Paw Paw Township has landed a $57,600 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to explore the possibility of rerouting trucks away from downtown Paw Paw through the development of an industrial road. (Zach Morris, Executive Director of Market Van Buren; Tony McGhee, vice president of Development Services at Abonmarche)

Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced three business expansions that will create 226 high-wage jobs around the state have been approved by the Michigan Strategic Fund, signaling continued economic growth in Michigan and generating $41.3 million in private investment. (Jacob Uhazie, Livonia Planning and Economic Development Coordinator; Linnette Phillips, Pontiac Economic and Community Development Director; Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO of MEDC and President and Chair of the MSF Board)

Losing bids are a wake up call: Michigan must do better now to attract future business. (Bob Trezise, president and CEO Lansing Economic Area Partnership)

Minnesota

Blue Earth’s Three Sisters Project has been underway since March of 2019. Its goal is to rehabilitate several of the town’s empty buildings so they can contribute positively to Blue Earth’s business community. (Janie Hanson, project creator of the Three Sisters Project; Amy Schaefer, Community and Business Development Specialist)

Ramsey County won a prestigious Silver Rank award in the category of Economic Equity and Inclusion for its Economic Competitiveness & Inclusion Plan from the International Economic Development Council. (Channon Lemon, Saint Paul Area Chamber of Commerce's Vice President of Economic Development; Tom Kucharski, President and CEO IEDC; Kari Collins, Ramsey County Department of Community and Economic Development; Tawanna A. Black, Center for Economic Inclusion)

The Bemidji City Council is scheduled to hear a presentation regarding a proposed agreement with Sanford Health of Northern Minnesota and Greater Bemidji Economic Development to work together in exploring the feasibility of development in the Rail Corridor. (Lee Krueger, President Saint Paul Port Authority; Dave Hengel, Executive Director Greater Bemidji Economic Development)

Mississippi

Future road projects spark ‘exploding’ economic growth in Madison County.

Missouri

The city of Nevada City City Manager shared economic development updates at a recent city council meeting.

Heather Brown will lead the Economic Development Corp. of Kansas City while it searches for a permanent CEO.

The timing is good for the city of Independence to consider spinning off its tourism department to merge it with the Economic Development Council. (Morris Heide, Acting Director, Parks, Recreation, Tourism Independence Convention and Visitors Bureau)

Nebraska

Three Custer County businesses are celebrating their history as well as their future as staples in the community and were recognized during the annual Custer Economic Development Corporation Awards Presentation. (Keith Ellis, Executive Director Custer Economic Development Corporation)

New Hampshire

The Monadnock Food Co-op will celebrate its expansion with series of public events. The 6,700 square-foot expansion brings the store to 19,900 square feet as part of a multi-year renovation. The roughly $10 million project included purchasing the property from the Monadnock Economic Development Corp., which built the original facility for about $3.5 million and previously leased it to the co-op. (Steve Fortier, Interim Executive Director of Monadnock Economic Development Corporation)

New Mexico

Electronic Caregiver, of Las Cruces, has been awarded $235,000 in New Mexico Job Training Incentive Program funding to support plans to expand and create 120 new jobs. (Melinda Allen President & CEO New Mexico Economic Development Partnership; Griselda Martinez, Director City of Las Cruces Economic Development Department; Davin Lopez, President & CEO Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance)

Publicly financed stadiums: Boon or boondoggle? With early voting under way, Albuquerque residents have begun casting their ballots to support or reject the $50 million gross receipts tax revenue bond that would help fund a new soccer-specific stadium. The proposal goes beyond simply finding a permanent home for New Mexico United, the city’s 3-year-old professional soccer team. City and business leaders – including those from Albuquerque Economic Development and the Greater Albuquerque Chamber of Commerce – see the project as a potential catalyst for Albuquerque, one that can provide much-needed foot traffic that could draw new businesses to the surrounding neighborhood and help support existing ones. (Danielle Casey, president and CEO of Albuquerque Economic Development; Terri Cole, president and CEO of the Greater Albuquerque Chamber)

Los Alamos Commerce & Development Corporation recently announced that Cynthia Rooney, chancellor of the University of New Mexico-Los Alamos, received the Institutional Leadership Award from the International Economic Development Council. “Her outstanding achievements, hard work and dedicated service to the profession goes above and beyond to improve the quality of life for others,” said Tom Kucharski, 2021 IEDC board chair. The Institutional Leadership Award recognizes a leader of a community institution who has significantly contributed to his or her region in support of economic development. Rooney was nominated by the Los Alamos Chamber of Commerce and Los Alamos MainStreet.

New York

The Rockland County Office of Economic Development and Tourism launched the following social media brands: "Make It Rockland" for Economic Development, "Destination Rockland" for Tourism, "REEL Rockland" for Film and "Rockland Commerce" to highlight all of these interconnected efforts. (Director of Economic Development and Tourism Lucy Redzeposki)

At last week’s New York State Economic Development Council Board of Directors 2021 annual meeting in Cooperstown, Bridget Gibbons was elected to serve on the council’s board of directors. Gibbons is the director of economic development in the office of County Executive George Latimer, where she focuses on attracting and retaining businesses and talent in Westchester.  She led the administration of the county’s $14 million grant program for small businesses and nonprofits during the pandemic and provided information and crisis advisory programs to help business recovery and resiliency.  (Emily Marcus, assistant vice president at the New York City Economic Development Corporation; Zoë Nelson, associate director of state relations for Cornell University; NYSEDC Executive Director Ryan Silva)

NY State Senators Julia Salazar and James Skoufis have written an impassioned plea to reboot economic development in New York.

The Ogdensburg Bridge and Port Authority Personnel Committee struck out in its first attempt to hire a new director of economic development. Now, the OBPA is trying again, with a bigger salary, to hopefully attract more and better applicants. The committee had advertisements out for two weeks, OBPA Executive Director Steven J. Lawrence said.

North Carolina

For the first time in history, North Carolina is looking at an economic development pipeline that exceeds $100 billion. That’s according to Chris Chung, CEO of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina, which takes the lead when it comes to recruiting companies looking to relocate or expand in the state.

Chatham County has had no problem attracting interest from homebuilders. Now, county officials are looking to increase commercial development and bring more jobs to the county. County leaders unveiled plans for Accelerate 2026 on Wednesday. The initiative is a public-private partnership aiming to bring 2,000 jobs and $500 million in new capital investment to Chatham County. Michael Smith, president of the Chatham Economic Development Corporation, said the focus of the program will be spurring development within the county's two megasites – Triangle Innovation Point and the Chatham-Siler City Advanced Manufacturing Site.

Rowan County saw the highest growth in annual employee payroll in North Carolina from 2012 to 2018, according to a recent report from the North Carolina Free Enterprise Foundation. Nine counties in North Carolina experienced payroll growth of at least 100%, but Rowan was the only one to check in above 200% with a total of 246% growth. Out of the 17 industries measured, Rowan payrolls grew in 16 of them, including at least 25% growth in 15. “This is even more evidence that business in Rowan County is booming,” Rod Crider, Rowan Economic Development Council president, said in a news release.

The Golden LEAF Foundation recently announced the launch of the new Golden LEAF SITE Program. The program will help communities identify potential industrial sites for economic development, complete the due diligence necessary to prepare sites for industrial development and extend public utilities to or conduct rough grading and clearing of sites for which due diligence has been completed. (Golden LEAF President and CEO Scott T. Hamilton)

Southern Bank Senior Vice President Ken Sawyer recently presented a $20,000 check from the Southern Bank Foundation to Norris Tolson, president and CEO of the Carolinas Gateway Partnership.

Details of the process for creating a Great State of Wilkes Outdoor Action Plan, including a survey for public input, have been announced. The objective is developing a 15-year plan based on a community-led vision for growing Wilkes County’s outdoor economy and encouraging active living there.

Two new staff members have joined the Warren County Community and Economic Development department. Cynthia Jones joined the Warren County team on Oct. 4 as the assistant director of community and economic development, and Rachel Wooster joined on Sept. 16 as a developer.

North Dakota

Altru Health System has pledged $1 million to a fundraising campaign to create a new technical education center in Grand Forks, one of several organizations to commit large donations totaling more than $1.6 million in recent days. Along with Altru’s donation, the campaign this week received $500,000 commitments from the Grand Forks Economic Development Corp., $100,000 from True North Equipment and $50,000 from JLG Architects. (Keith Lund, president and CEO of the Grand Forks Economic Development Corp.)

Two North Dakota companies have been approved for a total of $1.1 million in loan and venture funds through the North Dakota Development Fund. In making the announcement on Friday, Oct. 8, the North Dakota Department of Commerce said the loans are for the third quarter of 2021. “The North Dakota Development Fund continues to be an effective economic development tool for primary sector businesses in North Dakota,” Commerce Director of Economic Development and Finance Josh Teigen said.

Ohio

Hilliard's city manager has proposed hiring a marketing firm and a "downtown manager" instead of naming an executive director to succeed the late Tim Kauffman as executive director of Destination Hilliard. The firm would be contracted to collaborate with the city’s communications and development departments to perform the same tasks as the executive director, and the downtown manager's focus would be directed at but not exclusive to Old Hilliard, according to the proposal.

How Ohio's 'land-grab' university was created: The funds that established Ohio State University in 1870 only existed because the U.S. government seized land from Native Americans. (Michael Roberts, president and CEO of the First Nations Development Institute)

The North Central Workforce Alliance of Ohio and Ashland Area Economic Development are teaming up to hold an informative lunchtime summit on Thursday, Oct. 27.

Oklahoma

The National Rural Water Association, headquartered in Duncan, will receive two federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development, totaling nearly $7 million. The grants will fund programs to help create jobs, advance technological innovation at small water and wastewater systems and create economic development opportunities.

The Tulsa Regional Chamber has received Bronze Rank in the category of Economic Development Organization of the Year, an award program presented annually by the International Economic Development Council. The award was announced this week at a ceremony during IEDC’s Annual Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. (Mike Neal, president and CEO of the Tulsa Regional Chamber)

Oregon

Greater Portland Inc's recent economic summit was held in person at the Redd on the central east side of Portland. The gathering had an option to Zoom in for those who didn't want to rub shoulders or put on pants. Usually, these events begin with a glowing report of how well the region is doing, as Greater Portland Inc reports on the new businesses it brought to the four-county region. However, this time, the background message was that Portland is suffering from and needs a "transformation." GPI's new CEO, Monique Claiborne, revealed that Portland has been doing a terrible job attracting "traded sector" jobs compared to our peers.

Pennsylvania

Governor Tom Wolf today visited the City of Easton to highlight millions of dollars in state investments in several economic development projects that are revitalizing formerly vacant and blighted properties. (Pennsylvania Housing Affordability and Rehabilitation Enhancement Fund Executive Director and CEO Robin Wiessmann)

Four Pennsylvania businesses — including one from Chester County — have been awarded low-interest loans to help them expand operations, serve their customers and create and retain jobs. The loans were awarded by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority and announced Wednesday by Governor Tom Wolf.

The City of New Castle is holding a pre-application workshop for its small business grant program on Oct. 18. The city received a $126,000 grant from the state Department of Community & Economic Development to respond to the impacts of the coronavirus. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $10,000. All requirements, including a list of ineligible businesses, are detailed in the application. The city will begin accepting applications on Oct. 20 from small businesses interested in seeking funds to assist in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shawn Anderson, city director of community and economic development)

The Lawrence County Economic Development Corp. is seeking to have the assessed values reduced of about 300 acres of land in Millennium Park in Neshannock Township. The agency has filed an appeal with the Lawrence County Assessment Board of Appeals for several properties comprising some of the land that was once eyed for development of a high-tech industrial park and microchip plant that did not materialize.

South Carolina

S.C. Sen. Tom Davis, a Republican who represents Beaufort and Jasper counties, is working with federal lawmakers to get a budget earmark for water and wastewater infrastructure that would support manufacturing and distribution sites in the Lowcountry. Davis is seeking help getting an initial $11.3 million to “pay for infrastructure that is immediately needed to facilitate economic development” in Jasper County.

Tennessee

Some of the word’s largest car manufacturers are making big moves in Columbia’s own backyard, home of Spring Hill's General Motors plant established in 1990. In late September, the Ford Motor Company revealed its plans to build a battery plant and a truck assembly plant in the West Tennessee community of Stanton outside of Memphis at the Memphis Regional Megasite development. The move adds to the state's already blossoming manufacturing industry, stretching from Columbia to Memphis. The region can look to Maury County to catch a glimpse of how such an industry presence can shape a city and its surrounding area. (Maury County Chamber and Economic Alliance President Wil Evans)

Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the US Small Business Administration, visited Nashville, Tennessee, as part of a national tour highlighting small business recovery and resources available to assist entrepreneurs. She participated in a fireside chat at the IEDC Annual Conference with Jonas Peterson, President and CEO of Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance.

The Tennessee Economic Development Council has honored Gallatin Economic Development Agency’s James Fenton as the Fred H. Harris Economic Development Professional of the Year.

The Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development today announced that the Highway 223 East Site has been certified through the Select Tennessee Certified Sites program. Located in Jackson, the 316-acre, rail-served site is also certified through the CSX Select Sites program.

Texas

A baseball and softball scouting organization, Perfect Game, is moving its national headquarters to Cedar Park as part of an economic deal that will bring the city more than $20 million in revenue over 10 years, an official said. The revenue will come from rent the company will pay for city-owned land as well as hotel taxes and sales taxes generated when visitors come to the youth baseball tournaments that Perfect Game hosts, said Ben White, the city's economic development director.

The Kerr Economic Development Corporation, a private nonprofit that works to ensure diversified economic growth for new and existing businesses in Kerr County, Texas, announced today that it has received four top communication awards from the Southern Economic Development Council. The awards recognize KerrEDC’s outstanding creativity, leadership and marketing strategies. “It is an enormous honor to be recognized alongside some of the country’s top economic development agencies in the South,” said Gilberto Salinas, KerrEDC’s executive director.

The San Antonio City Council voted to approve an economic development grant agreement with Spurs Sports & Entertainment to support an investment of at least $246 million in a new mixed-use development. In addition to the capital investment, the project includes the creation of 15 new, full-time jobs onsite making at least $50,000 as well as strategic community priority commitments, with a maximum grant value of $17 million over twenty years.

Rod Henry, Temple Chamber of Commerce president and chief executive officer, draws a direct line between what he called the current renaissance of downtown Temple, the growth of Baylor Scott & White McLane Children’s Medical Center and the city’s robust health care workforce. “It’s Temple’s time. It’s all coming together,” he said.

“In spite of the world-wide challenges that we have all experienced over the last year and a half, Palestine continues to grow,” said Greg Laudadio, interim Palestine economic director.

Austin’s new economic development corporation could issue its first call for development partners next month, with the goal of preserving or creating spaces that can be used by local musicians and arts groups that are increasingly being displaced.

Lockhart, centrally located between Austin and San Antonio, is at the cusp of growth in population and industry, contributing to its success in manufacturing and distribution. Aside from its prime location, the completion of SH-130 in 2012 gave the Barbecue Capital of Texas a boost in infrastructure critical to moving goods and services throughout the region and the Texas Triangle. “Being able to serve Austin, San Antonio, and indeed the entire Texas Triangle from a single point has resonated with companies,” said Lockhart Economic Development Director Mike Kamerlander.

The City of Austin has received a 2021 Gold Rank Award from the International Economic Development Council for its Circular Economy Program. Of more than 500 nominees considered, Austin was one of 25 awardees recognized for creating positive change in urban, suburban, and rural communities. “We are thrilled to receive this recognition for our efforts to make Austin the most vibrant circular economy in the United States, where materials are reused, repaired, shared, and recycled to their fullest extent,” said Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Acting Director of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

United States

Last week, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology heard testimony on potential strategies for promoting technology-based economic development and regional innovation. The speakers on the panel on technology-based economic development were MIT economics professor Jonathan Gruber, University of North Carolina public policy professor Maryann Feldman, and former MIT Washington Office Director Bill Bonvillian. Gruber began the discussion with a summary of his book, “Jump-Starting America: How Breakthrough Science Can Revive Economic Growth and the American Dream,” which he wrote with his MIT colleague Simon Johnson. Gruber described the U.S. economy as “geographically fractured,” with 90% of the jobs created in “innovation sectors” over the last 15 years concentrated in just five cities, and 75% of venture capital likewise limited to only five cities. He attributed this to the economic phenomenon of agglomeration, which he said “simply means that smart people want to live by smart people.” In her presentation, Feldman cautioned against treating universities as lynchpins in technology-based economic development. “Universities are necessary, but they’re not sufficient. We have many places that have strong research universities that have really not been able to create new firms and new jobs in their locations,” she said.

Site selection consultants adopted the work-from-anywhere mode decades before a pandemic forced the issue. But even road warriors have home office. Adam Bruns asked site selectors why they located where they did. (Alexandra Segers, general manager with Tochi Advisors; Jay Garner, president of Garner Economics, and a founding member and past chair of the Site Selectors Guild; Will Hearn, director of real estate for Origis Energy; Mike Mullis, founder of J.M. Mullis; Didi Caldwell, founding principal of Greenville-based Global Location Strategies; Beth Land, of Site Selection Group; John Longshore, of Newmark; Clark Gillespy, of Google; Kenny McDonald, the longtime leader of One Columbus; Tammy Propst, of Tax Advantage Group; Monty Turner, senior vice president of Colliers Site Selection Services; Sarah White, vice president of site selection at GLS; Jeannette Goldsmith, of Strategic Development Group; Jeff Forsythe, of Forsythe and Associates; Barbara Dendy, of Forsythe and Associates)

Virginia

Bryan Rothamel is the new economic development director for Culpeper. He replaces Phil Sheridan, who retired recently after around four years in the position. Rothamel previously worked two years as economic development director in Fluvanna County, where he led the region in job creation during 2020 in the midst of the pandemic, according to a report for the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors.

Governor Ralph Northam today announced that because the Commonwealth has committed $8.5 million to upgrade infrastructure at Progress Park in Wythe County, a major joint venture has committed to build a manufacturing operation that projects to employ 2,500 people and produce up to 60 billion medical gloves a year. (Virginia Industrial Advancement Alliance Executive Director Josh Lewis, Joint Industrial Development Authority of Wythe County Executive Director David Manley)

Wisconsin

Atwill Medical Solutions based in Lodi, has been awarded as the top business in the state by expanding business operations while remaining vital to the community. The Columbia County Economic Development Corporation nominated Attwill Medical Solutions for the award and last month it was accepted by CCEDC executive director Cheryl Fahrner.

Wausau’s Economic Development Committee on Tuesday approved a request for $7,500 to conduct an assessment for affordable housing and the ‘missing middle’ with the goal of addressing housing shortages. The total cost to complete the Metro Wausau Housing Assessment as outlined will be about $55,500, depending on the number of municipalities participating. (Tammy Stratz, Community Development Manager)

Deborah Reinbold of Thrive Economic Development provided an update on a grant application to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation to help develop affordable housing for local residents. The grant is related to a potential pilot program in cooperation with the Watertown Community Health Foundation and Dodge and Jefferson counties. Thrive is making the application, and will help coordinate consultants in implementing the grant. Consulting firms that will be involved include Cedar Corp. and Movin’ Out. “If this pilot program is successful, it may be replicated throughout the state,” Reinbold said. (Thrive ED president Victoria Pratt)

An annual contest held by the Chippewa County Economic Development Corp. was honored for what it does to advance entrepreneurship. The International Economic Development Council presented a silver rank last week to the Chippewa Valley Round-UP HATCH Pitch Competition.

Wyoming

Gillette Community College trustees voted to approve a letter of support for the Energy Capital Economic Development’s application for federal grants to shape the economic future of coal in Campbell County. The letter of support makes the district the latest local entity to partner with the economic development agency after the city of Gillette and Campbell County commissioners also gave their support in recent weeks.


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