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ADVANTAGE . . . EVERYONE!!!
The phrase “Uniting our Region for a Vibrant Future” is much more than just a tagline for the Advantage Alexandria initiative that is presently underway. It is a focused and timely outcome that a group of citizens representing Douglas County area communities is pursuing. It is the lifeline for a vibrant west central Minnesota and a vision for economic vitality – throughout all of our communities, small and large - that will rival any in the northern tier states. By working together, connecting our small and large communities, and identifying what their special niche might be in the next 10 – 25 years, we will be well positioned for the challenges of the 21st century. Our small town education systems – in Brandon, Evansville, and Parkers Prairie must stay strong and play a critical role in those and all of our communities. The health care systems and services in Osakis, Glenwood, and Starbuck will continue to enhance the lives of those needing services in and around those communities. And the manufacturing companies, banks, and restaurants in Villard, Miltona, Carlos, Millerville, Forada, Kensington, and the rest of our small, regional communities will continue to provide important employment and social opportunities. The “spoke and wheel” analogy is very appropriate for this initiative. While the hub of much of the economic activity and vitality of this region is Alexandria, without spokes, the wheel does not function. Our small, regional communities make up the spokes of a well-honed wheel that will continue to turn faster, more efficiently, and drive an economy that is healthier than any other region in rural Minnesota. We’ve been blessed with many wonderful things in west central Minnesota— transportation corridors, lakes and other natural resources, and telecommunication networks to name just a few. But most important are the people who live and work here – those who have invested in the businesses and industries that drive our quality of life—in our small and larger communities. By working together as we look to align the building blocks of the future for west central Minnesota, everyone will win! Dr. Kevin Kopischke, President Alexandria Technical College Co-Chair, Advantage Alexandria
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR …2 AAEDC UPDATES …2 AAEDC BOARD OF DIRECTORS & STAFF …2 AAEDC ACTIVITIES …3 2008 BUSINESS & INDUSTRIAL APPRECIATION DAY …4
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
In March, the media introduced us to an initiative sponsored by several local businesses and organizations titled the Community Stewardship program. Over the spring and summer this stewardship initiative has ignited a group called Advantage Alexandria. Advantage Alexandria is a group of over forty members committed to the long term well being of the region. We strongly believe in uniting our communities through leadership, communication, and commitment to a common future. As stewards of the region, it’s time we begin working together. That is exactly what Advantage Alexandria is poised to do. Advantage Alexandria is a challenge to our communities to begin a dialogue about who we want to be and how we will get there… by working together as a region! We are fortunate to have a wonderful natural environment, an environment that links together our region and provides us a strong social, recreational, and economic foundation. This natural environment has helped to build our region a strong economy, centered on manufacturing, health, tourism, and retail sectors. But will these foundations and strengths naturally carry us into a brighter future? Should we rest on our laurels? Syndicated columnist George F. Will once said, “The future has a way of arriving unannounced”. Our world is changing rapidly. The global economy, rising energy costs, changing demographics and rapid use of technology are forcing change in our communities and region. Businesses have found a way to integrate change into their organizations to adapt to the new economy. The use of technology allows companies to be more productive in the market place, a market place that does not recognize geographical boundaries. This lack of boundaries forces collaboration and innovation. Why should it be any different for our communities? We have transitioned to a world where place still matters, but for different reasons. Now, most knowledgeable workers and businesses can locate virtually anywhere. Skilled and knowledgeable people tend to locate in communities that have a good quality of life and strong social, cultural, and natural assets. Identity is important to all communities, keeping your summer festival and supporting your school and its programs are just a few things that generate true community identity and pride. We are not asking you to forget about those things, but we are asking you to look at the regional picture and have a candid dialogue about the future of the region and our communities. By definition, stewardship means the careful and responsible management of something entrusted in our care. It’s time we start caring about our communities and region again. Progressive change doesn’t happen by accident. It is a product of vision, disciplined thinking, energy, passion, and an unwavering commitment to see the challenge through. To paraphrase President Harry S. Truman, “Individuals make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skilled leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”.
AAEDC BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Kjos, President
Alexandria Township (320) 762-4718
Rick Paulsen, Vice-President
City of Alexandria (320) 762-6226
Corliss Stark, Secretary/Treasurer
City of Alexandria (320) 762-1061
LaGrand Township (320) 762-2299
Carlos Township (320) 852-7943
Hudson Township (320) 763-4085
Lake Mary Township (320) 762-3702
Dr. Kevin Kopischke
City of Alexandria (320) 762-4404
Executive Director (320) 763-4545
For more information go to www.advantagealexandria.com.
Loan Fund Recapitalization: The AAEDC and the LAEDA have agreed to partner in a recapitalization project for the Alexandria-Douglas County Developers Revolving Loan Fund which can be used to assist area business projects with gap financing. Contact the AAEDC for more information revolving loan funds and other forms of business assistance.
OUR MISSION The mission of the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission is to drive the economic wealth and stability of our communities.
Marketing & Communication Coordinator (320) 763-4545
Administrative Assistant (320) 763-4545 ECONOMIC INSIGHT is edited & published by Patrick Kalina at the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission, 610 Fillmore St, Suite 1, Alexandria MN 56308.
ALEXANDRIA AREA ECNOMIC DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION
AAEDC ACTIVITIES Local Début of National Site The Legacy of Alexandria Selection Database
The AAEDC has recently enrolled in the LocationOne Information System (LOIS) site selection search engine to better market Douglas County, our communities, and local commercial properties to businesses & site selectors throughout the region, state, and nation. The LOIS system was designed by economic development professionals and based upon the recommendations of site selectors for a design that provides a large amount of information on buildings, sites, and communities including real-time data linking of GIS and economic development information. The system is currently being used by 6,500 throughout 16 states. The staff of the AAEDC is in the process of building the database of information for Douglas County and our communities and has begun to load commercial/ industrial property information onto the LOIS system. All building and site information is loaded by AAEDC staff free of charge for realtors, developers, property owners, and others who own or represent commercial/industrial real estate in Douglas County. Contact the AAEDC for assistance in listing your properties or learning more about LocationOne and how it can increase your property’s exposure.
Ground was broken on Thursday, August 28th for the construction of “The Legacy of Alexandria,” a new 116 unit apartment complex in Alexandria. The development will feature multi-unit housing consisting of upscale one, two, and three bedroom units – the entire project will be completed in two phases with phase one scheduled for completion in 2009 and phase two scheduled for completion in 2010. To assist with this project, the developer worked with the Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission to secure Tax Increment Financing (TIF) benefits from the City of Alexandria. To receive these benefits, 20% of the housing units created in this project will be for households whose income is 50% or less than the area’s median gross income. TIF benefits will be used to help offset infrastructure and development costs of this project. “The Legacy of Alexandria” housing project will be constructed on a 7.3 acre parcel located at 701 34th Ave E. Total estimated project costs are estimated at $10 million and will include 165,945 sq. ft.
Peaceful Bliss Assisted Living, LLC
Peaceful Bliss Assisted Living, LLC has begun construction on a 32 unit assisted living and memory loss care facility located at the intersection of E. Lake Cowdry Rd & County Road 82 on the west side of Alexandria. Within the 18,000 sq. ft. facility, 22 units will be dedicated to assisted living care and 10 units will be dedicated to memory loss care. 15 to 18 new jobs will be created because of this project and total project costs are estimated to be $2,400,000. The AAEDC assisted Peaceful Bliss Assisted Living in helping to secure Tax Increment Financing benefits from the City of Alexandria to offset the costs of infrastructure for this project. To receive the TIF benefits, Peaceful Bliss will designate 20% of the units to be leased by individuals or families at 50% or below the Douglas County median income level.
Connect to LOIS by going to: www.alexmn.org/availableland.cfm
Return Service Requested
Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Alexandria, MN Permit No. 161
610 Fillmore St. Suite 1, Alexandria, MN 56308 Ph: 320.763.4545 Fax: 320.763.4457 E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Web: www.alexmn.org
Contact Patrick Kalina to make address corrections by phone at 320.763.4545 or by e-mail: email@example.com
The Alexandria Area Economic Development Commission is a local collaborative effort with funding provided by the City of Alexandria, City of Garfield, Douglas County, and the Townships of Alexandria, Brandon, Carlos, Hudson, LaGrand, and Lake Mary.
2008 BUSINESS & INDUSTRIAL APPRECIATION DAY
BIAD 2008 - Honoring Cullen’s Home Center:
The AAEDC and the Alexandria Lakes Area Chamber of Commerce will be honoring Cullen’s Home Center of Alexandria as the 2008 Business & Industrial Appreciation Day (BIAD) award recipient at a luncheon on October 31, 2008 from 11:30-1pm at the Arrowwood Resort & Conference Center in Alexandria. Each year, the receiving company is chosen by the AAEDC and Chamber Boards of Directors based on selection criteria including: • Growth in number of employees; the impact of the business on the job market, • Increase in sales and/or unit volume; as an indication of continued growth, • Capital investment; an indication of commitment by the business to increase community commercial capacity, • Community contribution; the business’s investment of time, skills, and resources to assist in community oriented projects. Congratulations to Cullen’s Home Center for being selected as this year’s BIAD Award recipient! Thank you for your continued investment in the Alexandria regional community throughout all of your business locations in west central Minnesota. To learn more about the 2008 BIAD event or to purchase tickets for the BIAD award luncheon, please contact the AAEDC at (320) 763-4545 or firstname.lastname@example.org.