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October 11, 2012

Appanoose Economic Development Corporation executive director’s report for September 2012

CENTERVILLE — Appanoose Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Tod Faris issued the following report for September 2012.

Business communications as of Oct. 8:

Hydra Pools: Continuing to work with Hydra Pool as they prepare to bring their in-ground pool liner business to Centerville this fall.  They will be hiring at least 15 in that new department.

“Project E”:  Tod participated in a conference call with attorneys from three states and the CEO of a manufacturing prospect for the old Walmart building.  Company is currently looking for a location in Eastern Iowa, but Tod will remain in contact in case the desired financial strategies are not available there as they are here.

“Project F”:  Tod initiated a conference call with the co-founder of a beverage company considering an expansion in Iowa.  We are planning to host a visit to Appanoose County in the near future with the old Walmart building in mind.  Although 11 communities are interested in them, they are very interested in this specific area and are familiar with Centerville.

“Project K”:  Tod spoke numerous times with a manufacturing prospect in a nearby Iowa county looking to purchase a specific building in Centerville to expand their business.  This is currently on hold.

“Project O”:  Tod spoke with the CFO of a new manufacturing and assembly business looking to locate in a rural area to begin production of a new product.  Through the conversation, we learned they aren’t looking to expand into Iowa for at least a year.  We will stay in contact, because they may be able to contract with a local company here, rather than wait to find a building and hire employees.

“Project L”:  Tod spoke with the CEO of a communications company looking to provide mobile internet service to rural areas.

Sustainable Economies Program: The Appanoose Sustainability Summit took place July 10 at the Majestic Theater, then AEDC hosted a meeting at Chariton Valley Planning and Development with about 16-20 people on Aug. 28 to participate in a “backward mapping” exercise to determine a direction we should take our county utilizing the data from CIRAS and issues that are important to the County.  On Oct. 2, the group met again to review the results of the August meeting and organize some projects to begin working on.  Four committees were formed to work on projects in the following areas: Appanoose County Marketing, Financial Education, Leadership Development and Natural Resources.  These committees will meet a minimum of three times before the whole group reconvenes in January. The CIRAS staff will be available to Centerville for at least a year through this process.

Professional Developers of Iowa Fall Conference: Tod attended the PDI Fall Conference in Council Bluffs Sept. 26-28. In addition to attending many sessions focused on economic development issues, Tod was a speaker in a breakout session entitled “Starting a comprehensive entrepreneur development program on a shoestring budget.”  PDI events are always great for networking with others in economic development and this time Tod was able to spend quality time with the Project Manager from the Iowa Economic Development Authority for this part of the state, IEDA Director Debi Durham, the Head Legal Counsel for IEDA, and the COO of IEDA (who graduated from Centerville High School in the 70s).  These professional relationships will pay dividends to Appanoose County as we continue to have companies expand and we attract new companies to locate here.

Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund: CVRHTF is a four county housing trust organization that makes up Appanoose, Lucas, Monroe, and Wayne counties focused on improving housing for moderate to low income homeowners.  Many projects have been completed throughout the four county region.  Over the past year in Appanoose County, there have been eight projects approved and eight more pending documentation completion before Dec. 31. These projects include new roofs, windows, furnaces, handicap-accessibility, foundation repair, etc. In addition, the paint program has paid for seven homes to be painted in Centerville with more to come and the paint for the buildings on the corner of Highways 2 and 5 painted by the BOB Group. The board is in the process of completing the demolition of a number of blighted properties with the ultimate goal in some cases of building new homes in their place. CVRHTF has signed a commitment with IHCC Building Trades to build a new home beginning as early as later in 2012. The Appanoose County board members are attending the city council meetings of all the communities in the county to further market the program throughout the county. The CVRHTF is in process of applying for the third year of funding from the Iowa Finance Authority.

Public Appearances and Meetings:  Tod attended Rotary regularly, Opportunity Squared Regional Development meeting in Ottumwa, Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund meetings (six), Kaffee Klatch at City Hall, Coordinating Council, Rathbun Lake Association at the marina, Professional Developers of Iowa Fall Conference in Council Bluffs (three days), city council meetings in Moulton, Moravia, Mystic and Udell and hosted the Appanoose Sustainable Economies Program Committee meeting with CIRAS at Chariton Valley Planning.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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