Hello, I’m Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority. The coming of a new year always seems to provide a clean slate with which to write your next chapter. Resolutions are made and goals are set. We tend to think of goal-setting on more personal terms such as developing healthier eating habits or exercising more. But as community leaders, this is also a good time for review and envisioning goals for the future prosperity of your city.
One long-term community goal worth considering is site certification. Opening the door of opportunity for communities to attract new businesses or help existing businesses to expand is keenly important to economic growth, and having development ready sites available to market can multiply these opportunities substantially.
Since 2012, IEDA has assisted cities across the state in preparing their industrial sites for development through the Iowa Certified Site Program. This independent, third-party certification follows national site location standards, but also considers Iowa’s unique natural assets and industry needs.
To-date, 16 sites located in communities both large and small have achieved certification, and several others are in development. If you talk to anyone involved in the certification in those cities, they will undoubted tell you that undergoing the rigorous process of site certification isn’t quick or easy. In addition to general site information such acreage size and infrastructure availability, there are several environmental and archeological studies that need to be completed prior to certification. And of course, developers, land owners, utility partners and city leaders all need to come together to even begin to make the project feasible.
So why should your community consider participating in the Iowa Certified Site Program? It’s simple, having a certified site makes your city more marketable to businesses looking to expand or relocate - businesses that will bring jobs, property tax revenue and increased economic stability. To-date, over $491 million dollars’ worth of activity has occurred on sites within the program. Plus, the state also has a robust marketing plan which complements the marketing efforts of participating communities. Companies today are looking for sites that are ready to develop, and a site certified by IEDA is truly development ready.
The first 2017 application period is now open and I encourage anyone interested in learning more about the certification process or applying to reach out to IEDA program manager, Chris Cataldo at 515-725-3157 for more information.
As we ring in a fresh new year, I want to thank you again for the efforts put forth to help the businesses within your region to flourish. Economic growth happens in many different ways. Whether spurred by the availability of a newly certified development site, helping a main street business through a succession process, or assisting a new business with a loan application. Regardless of how growth happens, it has one common denominator – the Resource Partners that make things happen. Continue to aim high, and best wishes for a prosperous 2017.