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50 - Economic Development and Developers in the News

Econ dev news from 78 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, and Canada.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
17 min read
50 - Economic Development and Developers in the News
Photo by Elisa H / Unsplash

Welcome to the 50th weekly edition of Economic Development and Developers in the News.

Today's issue contains economic development news from 78 economic development executives and organizations in 36 states, and Canada.


Today's issue is brought to you by LocalIntel.

Alabama

Despite the disruptions of a global pandemic, Randolph County, a rural county in eastern Alabama has seen three major corporate growth projects since August 2020, creating over 330 jobs. (Bryant Whaley, Executive Director of the Randolph County Economic Development Authority; Gov. Kay Ivey; Brenda Tuck, Rural Development Manager, Alabama Department of Commerce; Tom Wisemiller, President & CEO, Northwest Alabama Economic Development Alliance; Greg Canfield, Secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce; Valerie Gray, Executive Director, Chambers County Development Authority; Jim Searcy, Executive Director, Economic Development Association of Alabama)

Bobby Hardrick was named to a multi-county industrial development board that includes Houston, Henry, Geneva and Dale Counties. (Matt Parker, President, Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce; Holle Smith, President, Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation)

Two economic development projects  are moving forward in the Town of Blountsville. (Don R. Mitchell, Executive Director, Blount County Economic Development Council, Inc.)

Alaska

The Anchorage Economic Development Corp. reported a job growth rate of 1.7%  by adding 2,500 jobs in 2021, with another 2,400 forecasted for the upcoming year. (Bill Popp, President, Anchorage Economic Development Corp.)

Arizona

The bustling Phoenix suburb of Mesa has attracted a wide variety of new construction projects in the past couple of years, turning this former bedroom community into a booming employment mecca with dozens of big name firms moving to town. Much of the growth is due to the often behind-the-scenes planning and coordination of the Mesa Office of Economic Development, which has worked strategically to align key elements that create an attractive environment for development. (Bill Jabjiniak, OED director)

Arkansas

The Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance and the Economic Development Corporation of Clark County welcomed Hostess Brands as they announced their new 330,000 square foot location in Arkadelphia. The company estimates the new production and packaging manufacturing plant will add 170 jobs over the next three years. (Jack Thomas, Senior Project Manager, Arkansas Economic Development Commission)

California

Chris Rico is the new president and CEO of the Solano Economic Development Corporation. (Sean Quinn, prior interim president & CEO, Solano Economic Development Corporation)

Tehachapi and East Kern have a part to play in the economic initiative known as B3K — short for Better Bakersfield & Boundless Kern. (John-Paul “J.P.” Lake, Executive Director, B3K Prosperity; Josh Pierce, President of the Board, Greater Tehachapi Economic Development Council)

Local environmental groups are surprisingly optimistic that Nordic Aquafarms' massive proposed fish factory in Humbolt can provide jobs and clean up a festering old pulp mill site. (Cade McNamara, Planner, Humboldt County Planning and Building Department)

Canada

The Ontario government is providing more than $3.6 million through the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation to 13 economic development projects in the Greater Sudbury area. This investment will help build a stronger Ontario by creating good-paying jobs, boosting economic growth and improving quality of life in northern communities. (John Guerard, Executive Director, Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation; Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; Christy Marinig, Chair, Ontario’s North Economic Development Corporation; Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry)

Entrepreneurship in Saskatoon surges when the economy struggles. (Alex Fallon, President & CEO, Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority)

Colorado

The Colorado Creative Industries office of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade will distribute the latest eight recipients of the Community Revitalization Grant program. The Community Revitalization Grant program has awarded a total of $64.9 million to 34 projects. (Governor Jared Polis; Margaret Hunt, Director, Colorado Creative Industries)

Connecticut

Shay Nagarsheth is the new director of economic development for Danbury.

Florida

DeBary officials hope to secure a Volusia Forever grant to save a riverside property from development. (Shari Simmans, Director of Economic Development, Communications and Government Affairs, City of DeBary; Gov. Ron DeSantis)

The U.S. Foreign-Trade Zones Board has approved St. Lucie County’s bid to expand its Foreign Trade Zone. The service area for the newly reorganized St. Lucie County FTZ #218 has been broadened to encompass all of St. Lucie, Indian River and Okeechobee counties. (Pete Tesch, President, St. Lucie Economic Development Council; J. Stanley “Stan” Payne, Director, St. Lucie County Air & Seaport)

The Jackson County Economic Development Committee  counted 19 leads and 46 potential projects in the mix as it works to grow the local economy. (Zach Gilmore, Vice President of Business Development, Jackson County Economic Development Committee; Jennifer Conoley, President & CEO, Florida’s Great Northwest; Jamal Sowell, President & CEO, Enterprise Florida; Roy Baker, Business Development Coordinator, Opportunity Florida)

Jillian Rose, Pinellas Park economic development coordinator, was named Employee of the Year.

The current economic state of the country is now faced with an inflation that locals believe requires a renewed commitment to investing in cities, especially rural communities like Fellsmere in Indian River County. Economists say this means investing in rural communities from the bottom up instead of the top down. (Helene Caseltine, Economic Development Director, Indian River County)

House and Senate chambers are squabbling over funding for Visit Florida, economic incentives, tax breaks and other inducements for companies that invest and add jobs in Florida. The House wants $33.5 million, while the Senate wants $43.5 million. (Dana Young, President & CEO, Visit Florida)

Secretary Dane Eagle of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity announced that the Department has launched the state’s next phase of the Homeowner Assistance Fund program, a registration portal for homeowners to begin the first step in determining their eligibility to receive assistance, and can be found at www.FLHomeownerAssistance.org. To date, DEO has provided more than $1 million in assistance to 137 Florida homeowners through the pilot program to mitigate financial hardships following the pandemic.

Georgia

Five years after opening, Cobb County is taking an economic loss on the Truist Park deal. The deal was expected to not only pay for itself, but become a fountain of new revenue and economic development in the county. Instead, servicing the stadium debt and funding certain operations around the ballpark have outpaced the income of stadium-related tax revenues, costing taxpayers nearly $15 million per year, approximately $50 per household. (Kim Menefee, Executive Director, Cumberland CID)

Stephen Milner is the new chairman of the Screven County Development Authority. (Grace Waits, Director, Screven County's Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Development Authority; Dorie Bacon, Director, Industrial Development Authority)

Illinois

The West Central Association has hired Carla Agostinelli as the director of development and community partnerships. (Thomas Applegate, Executive Director, Albany Park Chamber of Commerce)

Natalie Engel is the new economic development director for Shorewood. She replaces Kelley Chrisse.

Indiana

In 2021, more than 2,000 new hires in Monroe County were tied to projects worked on by the Bloomington Economic Development Corp. alone. Many more jobs are available across the region. As of October, private sector average hourly wages for the Bloomington metro stood at $22.81. (Jennifer Pearl, President, Bloomington Economic Development Corp.)

Tim Gropp is McCordsville's new town manager. Gropp has been economic development director for the town of Speedway for nearly five years. Before that, he worked in economic development for the city of Fishers. He succeeds Tonya Galbraith.

The Boone County Economic Development Corp. has hired Sarah Ford as manager of talent development. She most recently served with the Indiana Economic Development Corp. (Molly Whitehead, Executive Director, Boone County Economic Development Corp.; David Behr, Linda Walczak, Trevor Lane, Jessica Tower, Matt Saltanovitz, Susan Vaughn, Directors, Indiana Economic Development Corp.)

Iowa

Site Selection Magazine has named Siouxland and the Metro Area the best economic development in the nation in the Tier 3 population category, for the 10th year in a row. (Chris McGowan, President, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce; Brad Newton, Director of Economic Development & Workforce Solutions, Siouxland Chamber of Commerce)

Kansas

The Cherokee County Economic Development Corp. and Cherokee County E-Community will host the eighth annual Cherokee County Youth Entrepreneur Fair. More than two dozen high school students representing Columbus, Galena, Riverton and Southeast will present business concepts. They will be judged on a written executive summary, a four-minute presentation to judges and a tabletop display. (Janet Miller, Economic Development Director, Cherokee County)

Kansas has been awarded the 2021 Governor’s Cup award by Site Selection Magazine. The Governor’s Cup award goes to the state with the most capital investment and the most economic development projects per capita. (Governor Laura Kelly; Lieutenant Governor David Toland)

Louisiana

The Louisiana Economic Development agency is proposing to change a state incentive that gives companies an annual rebate on a portion of their payroll and sales taxes. The LED’s Quality Jobs program refunds qualifying employers up to 6% of their gross payroll for new jobs for up to 10 years. Additionally, the business can receive a state sales tax rebate on capital expenditures or a 1.5% project facility expense rebate. (Stephen Waguespack, President & CEO, Louisiana Association of Business and Industry; Larry Collins, Executive Director, Louisiana Economic Development)

Maine

Two new affordable housing developments have been recently completed in Belfast, and are already at full capacity. This was a first step in addressing the growing need for affordable housing in the City. (Thomas Kittredge, Economic Development Director, City of Belfast; Zach Schmesser, Executive Director, Our Town Belfast)

Maryland

The Daily Record’s Women’s Perspectives Podcast features Alicia Wilson, Johns Hopkins vice president for economic development.

Massachusetts

As part of the state’s economic development plan, twelve Gateway Cities across the state have been designated Transformative Development Initiative districts, including Holyoke, Pittsfield and Springfield. The state announced the $23.7 million investment in Gateway Cities over three years, more than doubling the size of the program. (Lt. Governor Karyn Polit; Dan Rivera, President and CEO, MassDevelopment)

Michigan

Meridian Township officials are recommending more than $1 million in spending to support a commercial and residential project that could break ground later this year. (Amber Clark, Neighborhoods and Economic Development Director, Meridian Township; Kim Thompson, Chairperson, Meridian Economic Development Corp.; Quentin L. Messer, Jr., CEO, President and Chair, Michigan Strategic Fund, Michigan Economic Development Corporation’s Revitalization and Placemaking)

Minnesota

The Winnebago Economic Development Authority board granted a loan to eatery, Flip-n-Shake. The funds will help the new owners with equipment and start up costs. (Angie Stier, EDA Specialist)

Mississippi

The newly renovated Mississippi State University Research and Technology Corporation Downtown Innovation HUB building is up and running. Having reached its maximum capacity for businesses at the Thad Cochran Research and Economic Development Park, McGee said RTC needed to find a space to house new research companies. (Marc McGee, Director, RTC; David Shaw, MSU Provost and Executive Vice President; Mike Tagert, CEO & Director for Corporate and Economic Partnerships at Mississippi State University)

Missouri

John E. Mehner has been named assistant vice president for the newly created Office of Economic and Workforce Development at Southeast Missouri State University. (Carlos Vargas, Southeast President; Kim Voelker, Vice President, Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce; Suzanne Clark, President & CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Raymond P. Towle, Vice President, Institute for Organization Management; Sheree Anne Kelly, President & CEO, American Chamber of Commerce Executives; Daniel P. Mehan, President & CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry)

Springfield on Thursday named Missouri native Amanda Ohlensehlen as the city's new Director of Economic Vitality. The city Department of Economic Vitality was created in July 2021 to "focus on vibrancy and take a proactive approach to helping businesses and entrepreneurs, and to positively impact the region’s economic ecosystem," according to the city.

Montana

The Montana State Parks and Recreation Board has granted preliminary approval to a plan to try to purchase land along the lower Yellowstone River in hopes of creating public access and promoting tourism and economic development.

Nebraska

When Kearney’s 200,000-square-foot indoor sports complex opens in south Kearney’s hospitality district, one of its first neighbors will be the new headquarters for the Kearney Area Chamber of Commerce, the Kearney Visitors Bureau and Economic Development Council of Buffalo County. The KACC Board announced Friday that after three years of study, the decision has been made to move to the new location and sell the current chamber headquarters. (Derek Rusher, president and CEO of the Kearney chamber)

Five bills in the Nebraska Legislature are receiving support from the Grand Island Area Economic Development Corporation. The bills provide funding for and support projects that will benefit Grand Island and its future business growth, said GIAEDC President Dave Taylor at Thursday’s Citizens Advisory Review Committee meeting. “Legislatively this has been a very busy year for not only, but for Grand Island,” he said.

Call it a three-peat. Tuesday morning, business representatives and elected officials from across Siouxland gathered at the Marriott Riverfront in South Sioux City to hear a speech from outgoing Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts and to learn that, for a third straight year and tenth time overall, the tri-state area has been named a top spot for economic development by Site Selection magazine.  In sharing the news, Adam Bruns, the publication's managing editor, said: "The spike of projects (in Siouxland) is really tremendous. (Siouxland Chamber of Commerce President Chris McGowan)

Nevada

As Clark County leaders look to the future, economic development and diversification are key topics. Shani Coleman, a Las Vegas native, is director of community and economic development for the county, a job she began in 2019. Coleman worked in a similar role for the city of Las Vegas for part of her time there between 2007 and 2019. She also held other titles, such as chief lobbyist. The Sun recently visited with the UNLV Boyd School of Law graduate, who worked in commercial real estate before moving to the public sector. She talked about her job, the health of the small business community and her vision for the area’s economy.

New York

An agricultural-themed talk show rooted on local radio for two decades has bloomed into a podcast that reaches out to a national audience. The podcast has the same folksy and informative format of radio’s “The Home Grown Show,” but now, anyone, anywhere can tune in at any time to Jay Matteson’s Rural America podcast produced by Jefferson County Economic Development.

The Focused Attraction of Shovel-ready Tracts is a New York grant program, designed to expand key growth industries across the state. Speaking at this week’s New York State Economic Development Council Conference, Gov. Kathy Hochul called the Empire State Development program – which offers up to $200 million to develop sites for high-tech manufacturers, warehousing operations, distribution/logistics enterprises and other in-demand industries – a step toward becoming “the most business-friendly and worker-friendly state in the nation.”

Cattaraugus County lawmakers voted 12 to 8 Wednesday to create a tourism promotion grant program using $110,000 from county budget surplus. The funding will be distributed to Chambers of Commerce and nonprofit business groups through the county Department of Economic Development, Planning and Tourism, subject to legislative approval.

On Monday, February 14, 2022, Brenda Valentine was surprised when the Town of Indian Lake’s Town Board announced she was named one of 100 in the nation as a small-town public service volunteer and presented with an award from the Small-Town America Civic Volunteer Award. This nationwide program recognizes extraordinary contributions by public service volunteers in small towns with populations less than 25,000. Valentine was one of five volunteers in New York State to be chosen. One of her largest endeavors was assisting in the creation of the Indian Lake Community Development Corporation, which she serves as the President.

North Carolina

The Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments, Kerr-Tar Workforce Development Board and Duke Energy will host a regional economic Development Summit addressing the changing dynamics of the post-pandemic workforce. Vision 2022 is scheduled for Thursday, March 31. The keynote speaker will be Peyton Holland, national speaker and consultant, and executive director of the National Technical Honor Society. He will be speaking on how to grow the workforce in a time when skills is hard to find, opportunities are plentiful for jobseekers and results are needed immediately.

North Carolina was awarded $6.4 million to establish a new tourism-focused economic recovery initiative. The new program, Supporting and Strengthening Resiliency in North Carolina’s Travel, Tourism, and Outdoor Recreation Sectors Initiative, will help develop and implement economic-building strategies for the recovery of North Carolina’s travel and tourism industries that suffered economic losses due to the pandemic.

North Dakota

Most members of the Jamestown/Stutsman Development Corp. Board of Directors agree that the JSDC needs to have a role in residential development. The JSDC Board of Directors discussed Monday, Feb. 28, the organization’s role in residential housing development in the Jamestown area. (Connie Ova, CEO of JSDC)

Ohio

For a second straight year, Sandusky County has reached the upper echelon of a key national business development ranking.Site Selection Magazine, a national economic development publication, ranked the Sandusky County/Fremont area 10th out of 550 micropolitans in the country in its 2021 rankings.That tied Sandusky County with the Tiffin/Seneca County area, and officials from both counties gathered at Terra State Community College's Neeley Center to celebrate the recognition. (Beth Hannam, Sandusky County's economic development director)

The Bowling Green Planning Commission on Wednesday voted to forward two updates to sections of the city’s comprehensive plan to council for consideration.The commission voted unanimously to recommend both the parks and recreation and economic development sections to council. (Bowling Green Economic Development Director Kati Thompson)

Every semester, Bowling Green State University professor Abhishek Bhati asks his students if they plan to stay in town after they graduate. As a member of the city’s Planning Commission, Bhati brought this up during a meeting last week when the commission looked over updates to the economic development section of the city’s master plan. (Bowling Green Economic Development Director Kati Thompson)

A Dayton defense group is joining forces with one of the region's largest economic development organizations. The board of directors and members of DaytonDefense, a nonprofit industry association supporting local defense contractors, have voted to transfer its brand and operations to the Dayton Development Coalition — a nonprofit economic development group and JobsOhio affiliate that covers a 12-county area of the Miami Valley.

For nearly a decade, the Flag City has touted economic development success. For the eighth consecutive year, Findlay has been named the top micropolitan community in the country for economic development by Site Selection magazine. Director of Economic development Tim Mayle said in 2021, Findlay and Hancock County saw $160 million in investments, and 24 qualifying projects for the ranking.

Wood County has experienced the fastest economic growth in nearly four decades. Wade Gottschalk, executive director of the Wood County Economic Development Commission, reported at Thursday’s meeting of the Wood County Commissioners that there is interest in the former Peloton site with growth also anticipated in Troy, Middleton and Henry townships. “We have roared back with the fastest year of economic growth since 1984,” Gottschalk said.

Allen County is ranked among the best areas for economic development in the nation. Lima tied for third nationally, with Saginaw, Michigan, in Site Selection magazine’s ratings for Top Metros for projects recorded in 2021 and ranked second in Top Metros per capita. Lima is categorized as a Tier 3 Metro, 50,000 to 200,000 residents, as the statistical area includes all of Allen County. It was tied for fourth in 2020 and ranked sixth in 2019. (Dave Stratton, President/CEO of Allen Economic Development Group)

Pennsylvania

Phil Dawson, executive director of the Mt. Airy Community Development Corp, has big plans for Mt. Airy's business community, with a focus on Germantown Avenue and its commercial corridor.

Tennessee

John Rose, economic development director for the city of Kingsport, said there is about to be a boom in industry within Kingsport in retail and business growth. “We’re just waiting for the balloon to pop,” Rose said. Speaking to the Kingsport Board of Mayor and Aldermen during a retreat on Friday, Rose gave a briefing on how the city is progressing in economic development. He told the board that the city is seeing growth in several areas such as housing and population.

Texas

Natural beauty isn't the only thing thriving in the Lake Houston Area, says Lance Lacour, President and CEO of Partnership Lake Houston on the region's growth.

The Kilgore Economic Development Corporation has received the 2021 Economic Excellence Recognition Award by Texas Economic Development Council last week at the TEDC Winter Conference in Sugar Land. (Lisa Denton, KEDC’s executive director)

"Sustaining long-term economic success can only come by accommodating and managing quality growth through strengthened collaboration, infrastructure investment, and fully developed regional assets. Our regional economic development strategy, Vision 2025, purposely includes these objectives. Ensuring that our business climate is sensitive to these needs will result in good-paying jobs and new capital investments," wrote Jason Giulietti, President of the Greater San Marcos Partnership.

The Copperas Cove City Council held a discussion on the results from the Citizens Survey and which sections to focus on for strategic planning during their Tuesday workshop meeting.  The council was asked to identify three areas to focus, for the top three topics that citizens identified in the recent survey as most important, to include streets, parks and recreation, and economic development. With the recent hiring of Fred Welch as the executive director for the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation, the council focused on economic development first.

Understanding the value of timely economic development information, Montgomery Area Chamber and Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber have partnered together once again to bring an Economic Outlook event presented by Chamber Creek to Margaritaville Lake Conroe on Friday, March 25, 2022. (Shannan Reid, Executive Director of Montgomery Area Chamber; Scott Harper, President of Conroe/Lake Conroe Chamber)

Governor Greg Abbott announced that Texas has won Site Selection magazine's Governor's Cup for a record-shattering tenth year in a row. The award highlights top-performing states for job creation and capital investment. The Governor was joined for the announcement by representatives from Site Selection, company representatives, and economic development leaders from across the state.

BNSF Railway Company today reported investments from customers served by the freight rail provider in 2021 totaled approximately $1.5 billion. Large investments from customers including The Gatorade Company Inc., Mark Anthony Brewing and Northern Metal Recycling contributed to the sum. As a result of customer investments, BNSF projects the creation of more than 1,700 new jobs in local communities. This marks the 11th consecutive year that BNSF customers and local economic development organizations have invested more than $1 billion in a calendar year for new or expanded facilities.

Members of the New Braunfels City Council on Monday approved a recommendation from the New Braunfels Economic Development Corporation renewing a contract with the Spark Small Business Center for a grant in an amount not to exceed $122,500. The expenditure allows Spark to finance and operate the Small Business Development Center satellite office in New Braunfels through the end of fiscal year 2022. Spark provides free services targeted to existing businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs and focuses on counseling sessions, expanding access to capital, business planning, training, contracting and procurement opportunities and exporting initiatives.

Vermont

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation celebrated Black History Month by honoring three local leaders and a Black-owned business competition for startups and small businesses.

Virginia

Stephen Moret, former President and CEO of the
Virginia Economic Development Partnership, says that Virginia needs to get serious about megasites. (Jason El Koubi, VEDP’s interim director; Jennifer Wakefield, president and CEO of the Greater Richmond Partnership)

The Data Center Coalition, Loudoun County Economic Development, and the American Red Cross of Loudoun and Prince William Counties have teamed up for a blood drive campaign. (Buddy Rizer, executive director of economic development at Loudoun County)

The Virginia Coalfield Economic Development Authority reached a record in economic development loans and grants in 2021, according to the authority’s 2021 annual report. VCEDA Executive Director Jonathan Belcher said Monday that the authority’s total for grants and loans topped $6. 1 million. Belcher said the authority’s annual report filed a week ago included 64 loans and grants along with 64 new and continuing economic development projects across the authority’s eight-county/city service area.

West Virginia

The Appalachian Climate Technologies Coalition launched Feb. 7 at Coalfield Development Corp.’s West Edge Factory in Huntington. The coalition will submit an application in March to the U.S. Economic Development Administration seeking $75 million, leveraged with $30 million in other funds, to implement a coordinated economic development strategy in southern West Virginia. As part of the proposal, the West Virginia Community Development Hub, in partnership with Advantage Valley, Northern West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at West Virginia University, West Virginia Brownfields Assistance Center at Marshall University and West Virginia Hive, is seeking $11 million to fund the West Virginia Community and Business Resilience Initiative. Officials said the initiative builds a three-pronged approach that serves as the foundation for successful economic diversification in southern West Virginia: people (leadership and business development), planning (strategic and community resilience plans) and places (community and downtown development). (Advantage Valley Executive Director Terrell Ellis)

Wisconsin

Renae Krings has been named Vice President of the Greater Wausau Chamber of Commerce. Krings will be responsible for leading the execution of the Greater Wausau Region Economic Development Plan and supporting the Greater Wausau Prosperity Partnership.

The city of Wausau has decided to move on from a multimillion-dollar project. Tuesday night, the Economic Development Committee meet with T. Wall Enterprises LLC developer about a second extension request. After nearly 10 months of negotiations and delays, the committee members decided to not extend the deadline.

The city of Green Lake continues to wrestle with how to develop the local economy, help businesses relocate to Green Lake and how to ensure existing businesses feel supported. To help achieve those goals, Green Lake’s Ad Hoc Economic Development Committee is looking for new members. (Green Lake Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Meier)

The Racine County Economic Development Corporation is hosting its first Beers & Business in Burlington. This event is specifically for growing business owners in the Racine County area. This event is a part of their 2022 Business Growth Solutions events.


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