GroWARRENow is the multi-million dollar initiative launched in January 2012 with the purpose of creating a more competitive economic climate for Warren County and communities therein.
WCEDC is the administrator of GroWARRENow, and has implemented a number of tools ranging from partnering with Indianola on the Connect Iowa initiative, pursuing the development of shovel ready sites, creating a revolving loan fund to facilitate the financing of small business ventures, and establishing the ‘Learn, Grow, Succeed’ program to bring technical assistance to new and emerging small businesses enterprises that want to start or grow in Warren County.
Let’s be honest, however, most economic development programs are measured on the economic return or value created in the form of actual business projects. The theme of the last WCEDC board meeting, in fact, was “It’s all about the projects”.
The bad news is that Warren County did not have any net private sector job growth between 2004 and 2010 according to data provided by Iowa Workforce Development. Since the launch of GroWARRENow in January 2012, however, WCEDC-facilitated projects have resulted in over 500 new jobs and $46 million in capital investment, and also over $800,000/year in new or preserved property tax base. We view this as a major win for our investors, stakeholder partners, and communities within our county.
We are particularly proud to be able to end 2014 very strongly. Four major projects will be completed or soon completed by the end of the year. They are: Produce Innovations (Norwalk), C&L Companies (rural Warren County), Fareway (Carlisle), and a warehouse project which will be announced soon for Indianola.
The aggregate economic impact of these projects is 375 total jobs, which marks a 2.3% increase in Warren County’s laborforce. It also means $11.8 million in added payroll earnings, or a 2% increase in the total earnings for Warren County.
Furthermore, prior to the Produce Innovations project in Norwalk, an Iowa State University report indicated that Warren County had 650 manufacturing jobs. Produce Innovations will increase this employment total themselves by 25 percent. Manufacturing jobs are valuable as a key economic driver of local economies.
Good economic development is not accomplished without a strong network of partnerships. On behalf of WCEDC’s staff and board, thank you for everyone for helping make Indianola and Warren County a strong place to live, play, work, recreate and worship. Merry Christmas.