The Jackson County Economic Alliance (JCEA) held its second Annual Event on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. The reception was sponsored and hosted by the Decker Hotel & Restaurant and was opened to all investors in the JCEA. There were approximately 45 attendees including Board members, investors, and other partnering organizations.
Director, Dave Heiar, and Assistant Director, Nic Hockenberry, provided an overview of the JCEA’s efforts over the last year. Heiar began by highlighting the JCEA’s focus on business and industry development. He noted that the office assisted with seven local business expansions that created or retained 81 jobs. Based on building permits for 2016, there were commercial investments totaling over $1.2 million. The JCEA also worked to promote area businesses and industries through Manufacturing Week events and other teacher/student business tours.
Hockenberry described their quality of life efforts as an important tool for the successful recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce, and a robust workforce is necessary for the success of our businesses and industries. Efforts to highlight Jackson County’s quality of life include coordination of the Parks to People pilot program for the State of Iowa. To date this program has brought $2.9 million of grants to Jackson County and $535,000 of additional private dollars. The Parks to People initiative has also leveraged over $3 million of in-kind match to local projects.
Heiar continued by underscoring the JCEA’s efforts in community and workforce development. With the help of Jackson County financial institutions a $3.75 million Downtown Low Interest Loan program was renewed. This program offers low interest money to incent the reinvestment in Jackson County’s downtowns. Six applications were authorized in 2016.
In the business meeting, the Board elected the following slate of officers:
- Chair, Don Schwenker
- Vice Chair, Jack Willey
- Secretary, Dave Heiar
- Treasurer, Nick Hueneke