Whether you are a visitor looking for information about Miller, South Dakota and the surrounding area, or you are a resident searching for the latest information about our community, you've come to the right place. This site has information on our local economic development office, the Miller Civic and Commerce Association, and the City of Miller. We also have a community calendar that highlights all of the upcoming events. Be sure to visit our Facebook page or check our blog to interact with others on all topics related to Miller, SD. Thanks for visiting our website - we hope you drop by again soon!
Miller C&C Members
From the desk of Kecia Beranek
COVID-19 Assistance Programs
COVID-19 Assistance Programs
As I sit at my kitchen counter attending countless COVID-19 webinars, the number one topic Economic Development Professionals are talking about is how to help businesses during this strange time. Below is a small list of resources available at this time.
On Hand Development Corporation has been talking about a new hotel development for years. That talk is now turning into progress. In 2019, we hired a hospitality consulting firm to conduct a hotel study. To help cover costs for that study, we utilized an economic development grant from our city’s power supplier, Heartland Consumers Power District.
On Hand Would Like to Welcome our Newest Face, Sarah DeHaai
Sarah DeHaai is the newest face to the On Hand Development Corporation Board Of Directors. Sarah was selected by the On Hand Board at the most recent board meeting on Wednesday, February 12. Sarah is taking the seat of Pete DeGeest who served on the board for the past nine years.
On Hand Development is excited to announce, “Bring Your A Game” workshop to Miller on Thursday, March 12th from 11:00 am -1 :00 pm. What is that? Bring Your A Game is a workshop filled with topics including Attitude, Attendance, Appearance, Ambition, Acceptance, Appreciation, and Accountability. They also include "life examples" as well as "work experiences".
If you didn’t attend the ask a council member question and answer session last week, you sure missed out. Everyone in the area had the opportunity to attend and let their voice be heard. If you didn’t attend and you have questions, shame on you. I personally invited people who complain about city or economic development issues and they didn’t show up. It’s like my mother in-law says, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” Over 75 people attended the session and the city council answered questions about the surcharges, phases of the projects, grants, funding, snow removal, roads, code enforcement, and lots of other topics.
Ask a city council member… They can’t hear you if you don’t ask them.
I can’t tell you how many people I have talked to in Miller about questions that they have for the city council. I ask them, “Do you go to the city meetings?” Or, “Have you asked your council member?” I usually get, “No, I don’t know when the meetings are, I don’t want to be in the paper, I don’t want to bother them,” or some other excuse. The truth is, the City of Miller does an excellent job of staying transparent with Miller residents. They hold two monthly meetings every month that are open to the public, the meeting minutes are posted in the Miller Press, and they hold special meetings during the year. On the other hand, Miller residents don’t always do an excellent job of attending city meetings, asking questions, or getting involved. At the last city council meeting, one resident came with concerns. A lot of city meetings, no one comes. My question to everyone, if you have all these questions, why not address? They can’t hear you if you don’t ask them.
I know a lot of people who are very happy to say goodbye to 2019! It was a tough year, but 2019 brought a lot of good things to On Hand Development.
In May 2019, I was hired and had the opportunity to train with Tammy Caffee. Mike Huether also made a call to our office and featured Rexall on his popular show. I also had the opportunity to attend a housing gathering in Wall, SD to learn more about housing troubles in rural communities.
On Hand Development and the Miller School are looking for businesses who are interested in participating in a very exciting state wide event. The South Dakota Week of Work is April 20-24 and Miller is looking to host locations for 26 10th graders.
The South Dakota Week of Work will introduce 10th graders to career opportunities in their own communities through job shadows, industry tours, and other business-classroom connections. It’s a week of exploration, with the aim of guiding students, engaging local businesses, and introducing employers to their future workforce. Think of it as a long-term investment in South Dakota’s future.
A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to speak to the Miller Elementary students about shopping local. I decided not to do a PowerPoint presentation or a long drawn out speech. I am better when I can throw a few jokes in and make it fun so I had a role-playing activity that not only involved a few of my friends who are affected by shopping local, but also the students.
Here at On Hand Development, we celebrate the small and big wins. I define the small wins as the progress points on the way to our goals.
Progress points on economic development projects with long-term and far-off goals can be difficult, if not impossible, to track -particularly for the many community members who are not actively involved in the actual development operations.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak to the St. Lawrence city council. I introduced myself at their monthly meeting and told them a little history and background about On Hand Development Corporation. Why is this important for me to do? On Hand Development is bigger than Miller. We work with all of Hand County and lots of organizations outside of the area.
Why does Economic Development Have a Youth Leadership Program?
Economic development constantly looks towards the future. On Hand Development has been involved with a youth leadership group the past couple of years to get students involved in their community and hopefully have a sense of ownership and enough to bring them back as adults. Miller Youth Leaders are made up of students in grades 7-12 who want to be part of a community project. What happened along the way was that as they planned and launched these events, they became leaders in their own right!
Hunting season in Hand County is so much more than how many birds you get. It’s about relationships, traditions, and the experience.
When pheasant hunters come to our area, they don’t just spend money on ammunition. Local businesses from hunting lodges to bars and restaurants to convenience stores to shops to car repairs, and everything in between, all benefit when pheasant hunters arrive in our community. Many family farms not only enjoy renewed friendships over the years but also extra income.
Here we are again… at the beginning of another hunting season in Hand County. Residents of Miller and the surrounding area are smiling when hunting season is around the corner. Hunting brings visitors to our area some who are relatives, some who are old family friends and some who are here for the first time. Hunting is Hand County’s finest tourist attraction! And like a good pheasant hunt in Hand County, On Hand Economic Development is also preparing and planning for our next big hunt. The hunt for new businesses. The hunt for new families. The hunt for a strong, economically stable area that is ideal for raising young families and yet quiet, safe and inviting to retirees.
I am happy to announce that On Hand Development Corporation (OHDC) help make a dream of owning a home come true this past week. Part of the mission of OHDC is to make sure that Hand County has safe, affordable housing. Housing is a big part of economic development. Our communities not only need jobs for young families but also need adequate and affordable housing to attract them to our area. OHDC has put our mission to work and made a dream come home for the Otteson family. This family of four, has bought their first home.
On Hand Would Like to Welcome our Newest Face, Cooper Bebo
Cooper Bebo is the newest face to the On Hand Development Corporation Board Of Directors. Cooper was selected by the On Hand Board at the most recent board meeting on Thursday, September 12. Cooper is taking the seat of Connie Schroeder who served on the board for nine years.
Last week, I attended a community engagement workshop in Webster, SD hosted by Dakota Resources. At this two-day learning workshop, myself and my economic development peers, learned about how to get the community involved in projects and how to ask the powerful questions that need to be asked. We heard three case studies from Webster, Rosyln, and Bristol and what’s working in those communities. We walked thru the process of the World Café and how to start up group conversations that make a difference. We took a tour of Webster and Rosyln and talked to their leaders.
That question we hear a lot around here. It’s not an easy, quick answer. So, if you have a minute, I will answer this complicated question to the best of my ability.
So first, what is Economic Development? Economic development isn’t an easy field to justify. Economic development is defined by Wikipedia as the process by which the economic well-being and quality of life of a nation, region or local community are improved. This definition doesn’t explain the nuts and bolts of economic development and how it can effect change in a positive way on a big scale. Because the scope is so broad, it can be extremely difficult to separate what the tangible goals of economic development are. And unfortunately, our office can’t produce doodads that can be measured, and some wonder if money spent on economic development is really worth it. We believe it IS really worth it. We have projects, businesses, employees, and increased sales tax to prove it.
Giddy Up Rustlers to the Safe Trails Route to School
Safe or not safe? That question was the focus of the event that was held Monday, August 19th during the school meet-n-greet from the Miller Community Center to the Miller School. Is it safe or not safe to NOT have a sidewalk from the Miller Community Center to the Miller School? NOT SAFE. Monday nights event demonstrated that families use that route and Miller wants our youth to be safe.
I recently heard this phrase, “positive leaders and community members in our community are passive.” That really stuck with me… because it’s true. People want to have conversations about the negative stuff. They don’t want to hear about the positive boring stuff. Why is it that more people show up to meeting or conversation when they have a problem? Why do we hear more about the problems in our community versus the wins that we have right here in Miller? Let’s build a POSTIVE community together through POSTIVE communication.
The city of Miller and On Hand Economic Development is urging the South Dakota Legislature to oppose Senate Bill 66, which, if passed, would prohibit cities with municipal electric utilities, like Miller, from annexing additional electric service territory.
As we are approaching our annual CRAZY days here in Miller, Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local is something we all need to remember. As I am visiting with people around town, they don’t like to see local businesses close their doors or to see vacant buildings scattered throughout the community; however, it is rare that those community members consider that their own buying patterns may have attributed to those very losses.
Last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to attend RuralX a two-day rural economic development and community development event in in Mitchell hosted by Dakota Resources. Now in its fourth year, RuralX was the chance for me to connect and engage with a network of rural changemakers- “thinkers and doers” from across the state. I got inspired to help Miller through motivational keynote speakers, powerful new ideas, bold breakout sessions and topics that are relevant to rural community and economic development. RuralX takes pride in bringing in local, regional, and national speakers with diverse backgrounds and a shared passion for rural success. This was not a conference like I have ever been to. It was an experience!