Archive for Thursday, May 24, 2007

Council hears economic development plans

May 24, 2007

Dave Hill explained to the Baldwin City Council what the newly active Baldwin City Economic Development, Corp., is all about during Monday's meeting.

"(City Administrator) Jeff Dingman asked me to come here tonight and tell you about our newly formed economic development group," said Hill, who is president of the corporation and president of MidAmerica Bank. "Basically, as most of you know, we've set up a 503C nonprofit corporation."

The idea was hatched last year and work began on it in July 2006. It was launched in January of this year. It isn't affiliated with the city or Baldwin City Chamber of Commerce on purpose, he said.

"We chose to go very much independent of those," said Hill. "We've raised $15,000 so far. Six investors all put in $2,500 apiece."

Hill explained that the idea is to have funds in place for when businesses, companies or whatever look to locate in Baldwin City to help aid those efforts. While the group is still working on specific goals, the overall idea is plain.

"We want to expand residential growth, commercial growth, recreational areas -- anything that can expand our tax base," he said.

The group wants to get the word out on what's available in Baldwin City, especially commercial opportunities. A Web site will be developed to aid that.

"If you wanted to know what commercial lots were available in Baldwin City, you couldn't find it," said Hill. "There will be 10-12 commercial properties that will be on the Web site."

He said the money the group has could be used for purposes that he's seen the need for.

"Over the last few years, I've seen a couple of opportunities that this would have been good for," said Hill. "I'd encourage you as a city to see value in this and save some money yourself for these projects. We want to create a revolving loan fund."

He said the idea is for each of these investors to add to the fund each year in the same amount. If there are no uses for it found, the fund will continue to grow each year into an amount that will make a big difference.

Council Member Ken Wagner, who head's the economic development committee for the city, was pleased with what he heard.

"Thank you for your interest in our community," said Wagner. "Thanks for putting this group together."

"We're excited about it," said Hill. "Doing nothing is OK. We'll be putting money together, if nothing else. But, hopefully, we'll do some small things along the way, too."

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