Long List of Priorities for WREDC in 2015

WREDC continues to work on behalf of its members and stakeholders to provide real world solutions. In 2014 WREDC Board was busy implementing long-standing Board position to pursue economic opportunities and address housing supply. Working with our partners within the school district, Nobles County and area cities, WREDC was able to develop and help implement the Nobles Home Initiative (NHI) Tax Abatement program. The NHI is still in full effect, and is one of the simplest incentive programs to participate in. We encourage you to share NHI details with your business colleagues.

WREDC strives to fulfill its role as a catalyst for public private partnerships and as a driver of long term community and business investments.
While the detailed narrative of what WREDC has worked on and accomplished in 2014 could be long, here is a listing of notable project areas that kept WREDC staff and Board members busy during 2014.

America’s Best Communities, ABC:
This is a competition to help market and promote the area as a good place to invest and do business. WREDC is the designated “applicant” and is working with community business and city leaders to provide a local profile. The first round of funding if successful is $35,000, with potential to be awarded up to $3,000,000 for a community project. Stay tuned for more detail.

Small Business Development Center:
As an SBDC site, WREDC provided technical assistance and business planning to over 15 businesses and area entrepreneurs.

PurNet:
A local company with very successful track record and strong employment base is in the process of building new facility on property located North of the Worthington Event Center. This wonderful investment would not have been possible if city leaders did not take the risk of providing necessary infrastructure. WREDC was active in working with Tom Johnson, Nobles County Administrator, County Commission, and First State Bank Southwest in packing the deal to meet project milestones.

WREDC Revolving Loan Fund (RLF):
WREDC loan fund portfolio assisted many businesses over the years with gap and primary financing. The fund currently has 11 active loans with funds available to provide direct assistance to new and existing businesses.

Nobles County has taken the leadership role in promoting the De-Federalization of existing loan funds and in working with the State of Minnesota to assign fund management to WREDC. More on this as the program is implemented in 2015.

Nobles Economic & Regional Development Strategies (NERDs):
WREDC launched the NERDs planning effort in cooperation with U of M Extension to promote sound planning and land use practices and to help drive public infrastructure investments.

Worthington Bio:
WREDC marked the 10th anniversary of Worthington Bio Science Conference in 2014 and planning is underway for the 11th Annual Bioscience Conference April 9th & 10th, 2015. The Pre-Conference Lab Day was well attended, and we want to thank MnWest staff for their support in organizing this exciting event. The 2015 Worthington Bio Conference lab day is set for April 8th. Watch for details on web site and via e mail.

Legislation:
Through our active membership in Greater Minnesota Partnership, WREDC is seeking to promote and help enact legislation that favors and promotes all housing sector investments in SW Minnesota and in Nobles County. WREDC is also supporting efforts to promote “Earn While You Learn” legislation during the 2015 session.

Young Professionals Network:
Employers in our area are successfully attracting young professionals to work for them and in keeping with the community’s welcoming tradition, WREDC with help from our members and the Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce organizes “Young Pros” meetings and events.

At their last event, the group had over 50 people participate. The only condition of membership in this group is you have to be under 40.

Business Site Visits:
This is probably one of the most important functions of WREDC; it is important because it gives us the chance to meet one on one with our membership and is elevating WREDC’s profile. We want to encourage members to reach out with any concerns they may have.

Annual Economic Outlook Survey:
In an effort to understand the economic and labor outlook within Nobles County, WREDC conducted the first of its annual economic outlook surveys. The survey will serve to help assess future investments and business sentiment in the immediate market. Detailed survey results are available on WREDC web site. In the future, the survey will give our members the opportunity to compare historic economic outlooks.

Biotechnology Advancement Center (BAC):
WREDC provides site management and coordinates events at the BAC. The BAC is proven to be one of the best investments the community had made. It is paying off in terms of driving private investment. The BAC is a clear demonstration of what is possible when the community works towards a common priority.

“Northland” Mall Redevelopment:
WREDC was and continues to be an active partner in working with developer to revive the Oxford commercial corridor. As a top community priority. WREDC pursued this project from the start and engaged PBK Investments as a very capable partner to see this important project through.

WREDC appreciates the financial and moral support of its members. Throughout 2014 WREDC operated efficiently and within budget. We look forward to growing our service offerings and know that as the community and its businesses grow, so the sophistication of WREDC’s mission.

Visit WREDC new and improved web site developed with help from WREDC supporters at Ide@s Computers.

WREDC’s e-mail contacts were updated in 2014. You can reach us grow@Worthington-Minnesota.com OR invest@worthington-minnesota.com

 

Looking Forward
Regulatory environment, workforce, & housing are the top three public policy issues identified in the survey. While such issues may not be unique to Nobles County and Worthington, they are at a level where they are contributing to stagnation in our ability to grow the community.
The majority of respondents are optimistic about future prospects, both in terms of investments, and job creation. However, the top issues identified above, if not addressed head on will frustrate our business and community’s ability to grow

The results of this survey help us establish a base line for tracking business sentiment and providing feedback to policy makers.

Results of the survey will help drive changes in regulatory environment, investments, and policy direction. It will also help WREDC utilize specific intelligence to direct our engagement with individual business & clients.

The survey is designed to alert WREDC to issues of concern and help us improve our response. Data from the survey will help us understand and better represent private sector interest before policy makers and staff.

The Economic Outlook Survey will be sent out again in October of this year to WREDC membership to gauge economic outlook for the upcoming year.

 

With your help WREDC will pursue the following priorities in 2015:

Nourish and develop Public private partnerships to provide for commercial and industrial expansion needs. This is a priority within redevelopment, housing and new developments/investments.

Promote and target specific Capital Investments Programs (CIPs) at regional, local and state levels to invest in infrastructure – transportation, roads, water, sewer, energy and related utilities. This is a prerequisite for a healthy economic growth.

Drive development opportunities by identifying and serving property suitable for housing and commercial use. All while keeping an eye for redevelopment opportunities along Oxford Street and in the downtown area.

Be deliberate and lead in finding resources to address housing and workforce training to meet growing business needs.

Market and promote the community as a just in time investment market. This will help us meet time sensitive investment opportunities.

We urge you to reach out and share your thoughts and ideas with WREDC staff or Board members. We want you to know that the best days are ahead for this community. We want to acknowledge the close relationship we have with Worthington Chamber of Commerce, and with you our members.

We value the trust and faith that you have placed in WREDC and want to express our deep appreciation for the tremendous support we get from Worthington Public Utilities, the City of Worthington, and Nobles County. It is only through diligence and positive working relationships that we can get great things done.

Sincerely,

Jason Vote
2015 Board Chairman

Abraham Algadi
Exec. Director


We want to thank the 2015 WREDC Board of Directors
for their time, insights, and leadership

Mark your calendars for the 2015 Worthington Bio Conference – April 9th & 10th
At the Worthington Event Center

Conference Lab Day is April 8th at MnWest Worthington Campus.
Visit www.worthington-minnesota.com for more details.