Executive Director Richard Baker with Guest Speaker, Naletta Burr, CEcD, Regional Economic Development Director for WEDC

The Value of Place Making was the topic of Guest Speaker, Naletta Burr, CEcD, Northeast Regional Economic Development Director for the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation when she spoke at the Annual Meeting for the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corporation. Burr touched on four Economic Development Strategies: Locality Development Strategies, Business Development Strategies, Human Resource Development Strategy and Community Based Development Strategies. The benefits of Place Making are:

1) It creates a community identity. Your community becomes unique, it becomes someplace, not just anyplace, it tells visitors and residents, “This place matters.” It helps to build community pride and it encourages travelers to stop and explore; and stopping means spending 99 percent of the time.

2) People recruitment or workforce recruitment? Place Making makes a community more inviting and attractive for people to want to live there, or work there. It send a message to site selectors and CEO’s that a community cares enough to invest in itself and to support its local business owners. As Burr stated, “Remember… disinvestment in your community equals investment in another. To have any job growth and to meet the future workforce needs of our employers, we need to attract and recruit 21-39 year-olds.

3) Public Investment triggers private investment. Kewaunee residents need only look at Broadway in Green Bay. Through the use of the Main Street program, they tripled their tax base, added 90 new businesses and over 900 new jobs from 1995 to 2009. Private investment means increased tax base; which means taxes remain lower for all and the community has the means to enhance services and amenities for all.
Place Making was also the topic of new KCEDC Executive Director, Richard Baker’s, introduction to investors about his economic development background and philosophy. “My economic development philosophy can be summed up with, “A place is not worth living and working in unless it is worth visiting. In other words, a lot of the things that attract tourists are the same things that attract people to want to live in a community.” Quality downtowns with unique businesses like coffee shops, independent bookstores, wineries or breweries, and art galleries. People, especially Millennials, also want access to outdoor recreational activities and great broadband.

A declining population, and an aging population and workforce are indications that we have some work to do; but we have some great things happening in our area communities and across the County to improve these conditions.
Representatives from the Cities of Algoma and Kewaunee, as well as the Village of Luxemburg and Kewaunee County presented a brief overview of what projects they are working on to improve their communities and their local economy.

Retiring board members; Jim Smidel, Investors Community Bank, Jan Dart, City of Algoma, and Glenn Schlender, Luxemburg-Casco School District were honored and new board members and new officers were introduced. Your 2019 Officers for KCEDC are: President – Lynn Kroll, Wisconsin Public Service, Vice Chair – Cory Cochart, Town of Lincoln, Treasurer – Jeff Kleiman, (Retired) Nicolet National Bank, Gary Paape, Kewaunee County Supervisor, and Past – President, Lynie Vincent, N.E.W. Plastics.
Attendees also received a copy of the Annual Report for KCEDC.