Regional Participation Brings Awareness of Similar Issues
Monday, October 08, 2018
Regionalism, by its very definition, emphasizes a geographic locale and focuses on characteristics of a specific area. For OEDC that means inclusion in three distinct regional economic development groups. One serves the 3-county Eddyville bio processing complex region including Mahaska, Monroe, and Wapello counties. A second includes a nine-county Southeast Iowa economic developers group including Appanoose, Davis, Jefferson, Keokuk, Lucas, Mahaska, Marion, Monroe, and Wapello counites. The final group includes the 10-county area served by Indian Hills Community College, which includes the above area along with the additional counties of Van Buren and Wayne.
Believe it or not, recent strategic planning sessions for each of these groups demonstrates very similar priorities:
- Infrastructure Improvements (roads, utilities, water & wastewater, and communications systems)
- Housing & Neighborhoods
- Business Development (high-wage industry)
- Workforce Development, and
- Quality of Life (retail options and other community amenities)
But change is coming... and the region has seen industrial and other growth in the past few years; bridge repair, millions of dollars in water/sewer separation, new industry such as Plastipak, C&C, and RMA Armament to mention a few. Main Street revitalization efforts continue in the region with ongoing facade improvements, housing options, streetscape and library projects in progress. There are four Home Base Iowa communities in the region offering special incentives to veterans. Multi-family housing is in development now in a variety of locations including, but not limited to, Ottumwa, Oskaloosa, Pella, and Fairfied.
OEDC and its colleagues in the area want you to know that efforts are constant and in earnest. While it would be wonderful to transform a city with the snap of fingers, it rarely falls into place that easily. Time and resources are a constant priority, and, since most are staffed by one person, working together has helped to move the needle when it comes to recognition of the many and varied improvements made in Southeast Iowa.
Hang in there- there's more to come!