Several smaller South Dakota towns are proving that economic development isn’t simply a tally of the number of jobs created.
For those hoping to bring new businesses to town or help existing businesses expand, it takes a toolbox that includes available workers, desirable housing, investment dollars, quality of life amenities and leadership. It’s thinking beyond the job count and smokestacks and offering what people are looking for when it comes to lifestyle, say economic development directors from numerous towns with fewer than 5,000 people.
“Traditional economic development doesn’t really exist anymore. It’s a lot about community development and economic development,” said Paula Jensen, vice president of program development with Dakota Resources. “It’s about developing the brand of a thriving rural.”
Dakota Resources is a nonprofit that helps member communities find capital to use for economic development goals. The 30-plus communities in South Dakota who belong also are able to access training, participate in a learning network so they are less isolated and grow their community’s capacity for development.
BJ Hughes is the newest face to the On Hand Development Corporation Board Of Directors. BJ was selected by the On Hand Board at the most recent board meeting on Wednesday, July 14. BJ is taking the seat of Brian Jones who sat on the board for the past five years.
As we are approaching our annual CRAZY days here in Miller, Buy Local or Bye-Bye Local is something we all need to remember and it shouldn’t be just for CRAZY days. 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.
I was visiting with a relative from out of state last weekend and she asked me, “Why do you love living here so much? I haven’t heard of anyone talk about a community the way you do.” Here is my twitter version of my list.
I was organizing photos that were donated by Joan Bertsch the other day, when I came across one from Main Street Miller in the 1950’s with this written on it, “The Biggest Little City in South Dakota.”