BCDA Hosts Collaborative “Mixer” with Local Community Groups

On January 24th, Boone County Development Agency (BCDA) invited representatives from each community in the county to a collaborative “mixer”. Approximately 20 individuals from Albion, Cedar Rapids, Petersburg, Primrose and St. Edward attended the event, which was designed to educate Boone County economic development and government entities about local, regional and state programs that are available to support their initiatives. In addition, attendees were encouraged to provide insight into the current challenges and needs of their community. 

Todd Duren of Loup Power District opened the event by explaining the power company’s role in economic development. He also shared information about specific programs and projects Loup Power has been involved with. Based in Columbus, Duren also shared some of the community’s current projects focused on economic development. Next, Dani O’Brien of BCDA provided information about local programs available to Boone County communities, which range from support and guidance for starting a business through transition. 

The majority of the evening included guided group discussion about economic development in the county. Topics ranged from housing to new minimum wage laws, infrastructure to helping local business owners prepare for retirement and transition. Those in attendance shared examples of both challenges and successes in their communities, posed questions to their peers, and spoke openly about the importance of focused economic development plans across the county in order to retain and attract businesses and families. 

BCDA is planning to provide another county-wide session later this year as a way to encourage the communities to share knowledge and work together to strengthen the county.