Business Communications (as of 2/27/13):
Hydra Pools: The pool liner department has been installing the last couple machines and should be ready to begin liner production very soon.
Shark Fin Shears: An application has been submitted to IEDA for Economic Development Set Aside monies for a forgivable loan; to be reviewed by the state in early March. It is anticipated that a new 6,000-8,000 square-foot building will be built on two acres in the industrial park and Shark Fin Shears will hire 15 new people over the next three years. It is hoped that construction can begin in April.
Jef-Scot Metal Industries: Since 2009, when they began their expansion, Jef-Scot Metal has nearly quadrupled their annual sales, and have increased their local annual payroll by over $500,000. They also have plans to move additional business here from their Kansas facility as soon as later this year.
AEDC annual banquet: The 2013 AEDC banquet is March 28 at Honey Creek Resort beginning with social time at 5 p.m. and things getting started around 5:45 p.m. I am pleased to announce the keynote speaker will be Debi Durham, Iowa Economic Development Authority director. Tickets will be $25 each and reservation information will be released soon. If any questions, contact the AEDC office at (641) 856-3388.
RLF loan program: I has visited with three RLF loan candidates and anticipates completed applications from each of them for the RLF review committee to review in March. A new loan was closed in January that served as a down payment for an entrepreneur to purchase a building to expand their business.
EB5 Regional Center: Faris has been working with a group for over a year to create a new option for financing large development projects in southern Iowa and northern Missouri. These projects may range from $3.5 million to well over $10 million and this financing will either provide supplemental financing to conventional loans at banks, or in some instances, this may provide the majority of financing of the project. We hope to have an application submitted to the federal government in March. It is our hope that having this tool will give us an advantage in attracting more businesses to southeast Iowa, and particularly Appanoose County. I participated in seven conference calls in regard to EB5 efforts in the past month, in addition to communicating with legislators.
Iowegian news: Two articles in the Progress Edition of the Iowegian: Sustainable Economies Program progress and employment growth in the county.
Sustainable Economies program: Meetings continue among the four committees working on projects in the following areas: Appanoose County Marketing, Financial Education, Leadership Development and Natural Resources. The Leadership Committee began a leadership class Feb. 21 for the public that will last a few months, and had about 30 participants at the first session. The Natural Resources committee is looking seriously into city-wide trash pickup (talked to City Council Feb. 18) and a “wayfarer signage” project (signage throughout the community that informs visitors where points of interest are. Centerville is on the list for an ISU design class to begin working on this in the fall. The Marketing Committee is working on the web site and social media marketing (Golden Shovel), and wayfarer signage. The Financial Education committee just met again and has added more participants. They are looking into some innovative educational tools that volunteers can bring to the local school districts to teach elementary kids about finances. The CIRAS staff will be available to Centerville for at least a year through this process.
AEDC membership: AEDC is in the midst of their annual membership drive. I have many businesses, organizations and individuals who invest in AEDC annually which enables me to continue the work of enhancing the county’s economy full time. AEDC is continually working to grow the current membership. Contact the AEDC office if interested in becoming more involved.
AEDC web site: I made presentations to the City Council and Board of Supervisors to discuss partnering together to hire Golden Shovel to create new web sites for all three of our organizations that would work in concert with one another. Golden Shovel specifically works in the economic development arena by creating web sites for ED organizations, cities, counties and chambers of commerce. Golden Shovel will create new web sites for AEDC, the city, and the county, and will also manage the web sites and a social media program. Both the city and county are considering partnering with AEDC in this effort.
Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust: Construction on the new house was anticipated to begin March 4 at 1113 S. 15th St. Many local professionals are coming together on this project, some volunteering time and expertise. Three home improvement projects were approved in January; however Appanoose County is not accepting any more applications until later in the year. We will continue with the “paint project” primarily in the smaller communities that surround Centerville. Also, we have specific plans in place to demolish/remove four homes in Centerville in the next couple months.
Public appearances and meetings: I attended Rotary regularly, Opportunity Squared Regional Development meeting in Ottumwa, AEDC membership annual meeting at Continental Hotel, three Chariton Valley Regional Housing Trust Fund meetings, ACCF Board meeting, Iowa Community Development Advisory Board meeting, KTVO TV interview, Chamber of Commerce annual banquet at the Manhattan, Skilled Workforce meeting in Des Moines, meeting with Tom Bentley at Honey Creek Resort, two Centerville City Council meetings, Appanoose County Board of Supervisors meeting, Sen. Grassley Town meeting at Court House, Kaffee Klatch at Continental at St. Josephs. Also, so far in 2013, I have visited with 11 entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses or start a new one.