“What do you do at On Hand?”
– By #MillerSD
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. 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.
So, what is On Hand Development? The mission of On Hand Development Corporation is to maintain and assist in the expansion of existing businesses and support the growth of new businesses while striving to improve the economy of the Miller area.
On Hand Development receives sales tax revenue from the City of Miller and money from Hand County. Since On Hand was formed in 1990, sales tax grew every year except one! Monies received from sales tax are used for payroll (Full time executive director and part time office assistant), projects, owning and managing the community center, memberships and affiliations, trainings, conferences, and webinars. Current properties that On Hand owns and manages includes the Miller Community Center, Sommers Bar, (FOR SALE) Data Trak, one lot left in the Industrial Park (FOR SALE), and the Friendship Center. We have a lending license and currently have 8 loans out totaling over $600,000. Our loans provide gap financing to help businesses get started or help expand existing businesses.
What do we do every day here at On Hand? Our job here varies from day to day. The projects we work on take a lot of time. Currently, we are working on a number of projects including; business visits, selling Sommer’s Bar, housing development, promotion of Miller, a grant for another industrial park, a hotel project, revolving loan fund, sidewalk project, managing the Miller Community Center, events at the Miller Community Center, working with the youth, shop local campaign, Career Here Event with students from around the region, signs and awnings programs, and lots of communication that includes; articles, phone calls and emails about the Miller area, reports, radio interviews, and social media. We are also writing grants to improve Miller. Since starting here in May, I have written and received just over $225,000 in grants. I am sure I forgot something on that list but it should help clear up a little of the confusion.
And it isn’t just Megan and myself working… On Hand is governed by a board of eleven volunteers. These board members are here on their own time and believe in the future of Miller. We also work with a lot of community members who don’t sit on the board but volunteer for different projects and events and support our mission.
I hope this article gives those of you who are wondering what we do here at On Hand a clearer picture. I invite anyone to please stop in and chat if you have questions or concerns.