Commissioner Scott Stern, GOED speaks at Grant County Development Annual Meeting
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
Grant County Review, Milbank, SD
Scott Stern, commissioner with the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), was the keynote speaker during the annual meeting of the Grant County Development Corporation (GCDC) Thursday, May 18.
Stern recounted highlights of the recent GOED conference and presented information about the state’s economic development strategic plan. The state-level mission is to encourage and support the creation of new businesses, encourage the expansion of existing businesses and facilitate the relocation of other businesses into the state.
Four main objectives are included in the state plan including an expansion of the property tax base and business development, workforce recruitment, providing assistance to local communities in preparing infrastructures to support business or industrial expansion and providing training opportunities for each community to have leaders receive training or certification in various facets of economic development.
Bobbie Bohlen, GCDC executive director, later confirmed that the efforts of the local development group dovetail with the state’s priorities. “In 2016, we focused on housing, and we are going to continue to do that,”?she said.
Bohlen indicated that state funding will be increased to First District, an organization that GCDC works with for projects it would not be able to do alone. She noted that requests for information that come from the state provide her and the local development board with a sense of what the larger companies are looking for when considering locating into a community.
The local development group also makes working with local businesses a priority to assure that the local base remains strong. “We have said all along that the growing of existing businesses needs to be our primary focus,” Bohlen said.
In addition to focussing on workforce housing, the GCDC has several goals that align with those Stern discussed. “We will try to expand the value we bring with the revolving loan fund and continue to look for smaller businesses to relocate into the industrial park,” Bohlen said. Potential expansion of the industrial park, assisting in the maintenance of an active Main Street retail community and utilizing the data from a recently completed ag land analysis are among the projects the GCDC will address in coming months.
“One of the things we do here is connect our clients to resources,”?Bohlen said. She includes GOED, First District, the City of Milbank, Milbank Area Chamber of Commerce and Grant County as partners in development. “We work with them to expand those resources and use them to the best of our ability,” she added.
The business meeting included approving the minutes of the last meeting and reviewing the annual audit.