What do you do at On Hand?

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That question we hear a lot around here. It’s not an easy, quick answer. As I am approaching my third year at On Hand, I am getting better and better at answering it.

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.  

On Hand Development receives sales tax revenue from the City of Miller and we also receive funds 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 awnings and signs, payroll, taxes, insurance, website fees, 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, Data Trak, 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, housing, supporting businesses for sale, selling Sommers Bar, promotion of Miller, recruitment fund program, hotel project, revolving loan fund, 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 working on a new Welcome to Miller guide. We post every job listing in Hand County that we know about on our website for free to any business.

There are a lot of “things” that we do around here that no one knows about. We help business owners with ideas, business plans, and encouragement. We take all kinds of calls of questions for our area. We keep track of a community calendar of events. We connect nonprofit organizations with resources including grants and partners. We encourage and help individuals make things happen. We do bookwork.

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.

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