Metro Communities Unite to Strengthen Economic Development Efforts – SiouxFalls.Business

April 25, 2022

This paid coin is sponsored by Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

Crystal Jacobson starts a new job today: mayor of the town of Worthing.

The mother-of-three has a long history with the Lincoln County community – she lived there for 18 years and served on city council, the planning and zoning board and the parks and recreation board.

“We want growth in this community,” she said. “It’s one of the things that the vast majority of citizens want. They want new business. We are a small community that will support any business that comes to town and give them what we can to support them.

But Jacobson knows that first, the city government needs additional staff.

You can count the number of municipal employees in Worthing on the one hand. Jacobson herself has a full-time job at Midco in addition to being mayor. And there is no budget for a full-time employee to focus on economic development.

A partnership with Sioux Metro Growth Alliance is therefore great, she said. “It’s perfect. It’s exactly what we need.

A new economic development specialist hired by SMGA will support the communities of Worthing and Harrisburg, which help fund the position.

“A community that wants to add economic development staff without adding a full-time position can save significantly with this approach,” said Jesse Fonkert, president and CEO of Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.

“In addition, we work as a team on projects. So while someone works directly with you, that person also works within our organization to bounce ideas off, strategize, and additionally benefits from my oversight, management, experience, and connection.

Sioux Metro Growth Alliance already fulfills this role for communities in Baltic, Dell Rapids, Lennox and Salem.

“What makes sense with Harrisburg and Worthing is that the two communities are quite close geographically, share common utility providers, but are at very different stages of growth,” Fonkert said. “So that person will be able to kick-start growth and build momentum from the ground floor in one community and take advantage of the momentum and full vision already in place in the other.”

In the case of Worthing, there is a need for commercial development to help balance the demand for residential growth.

“Main Street isn’t very big, so we need to expand into the industrial park area,” Jacobson said. “If we can find more land to build towards the freeway, anything to get in here and help the community in a way that will generate more sales tax revenue and all the people will stay in our community and do their shopping.”

In the case of Harrisburg, the new economic development specialist arrives in the community of 7,000 people as it wraps up its five-year Heart of Harrisburg public-private partnership campaign centered on economic development.

Its objectives include:

  • Develop a business park with critical infrastructure to acquire targeted businesses and enable the expansion of existing businesses. The plan is to secure up to 100 acres during or before 2026.
  • Attract businesses to locate in or near Harrisburg, with the goal of a minimum of five businesses with 15 or more employees by 2026.
  • Create jobs by developing a year-round business retention strategy to help local businesses looking to grow and plan for transformation with a target of 175 or more people working in new or growing businesses in Harrisburg or near.

“The campaign has been great,” said Adam Walsh, chairman of the board of the Harrisburg Economic Development Corporation. “We’re making great strides toward our $2 million goal, and there’s a lot to celebrate, especially with the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance partnership.”

The community will host a Heart of Harrisburg Celebration from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at Meadow Barn in Country Orchards.

“Harrisburg is growing its business and its industry, but what we’re seeing are companies from Sioux Falls stepping in because they have a store here, they’ve worked in Harrisburg, and they know the work is coming, and they want be a part of it,” Walsh said.

The Harrisburg Economic Development Corporation became its own separate entity from the city’s Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. When an executive director position became vacant, the board found it helpful to partner with SMGA, Walsh said.

“It all comes down to developing relationships and working with other organizations to grow, because economic development is not just one person’s responsibility. It’s regional and multi-organizational,” he said.

“Jesse has been a great resource for us to help establish what this organization needs to do to be successful, and the partnership is important in helping us leverage resources that we don’t necessarily have.

The community is looking for someone who can build and nurture relationships while helping bring Harrisburg’s vision to life, said Community Development Manager Larry Klipfel.

“We’re hoping to see a well-rounded individual, I’m thinking of a torchbearer in that situation,” he said. “They need to maintain a constant presence in the community to work towards what we are all trying to collectively accomplish.”

Sioux Metro Growth Alliance is still hiring the new Economic Development Specialist. To learn more about the role, click here.

“For someone who wants to make a big impact on communities and lead a team focused on a better future, this is a fantastic opportunity,” Fonkert said.

“We prefer training in economic development, but we can train those skills. It’s about finding someone who works well with people, can strategize, and is passionate about the community. »