Our Economic Development Commission

Fort Atkinson recently passed an ordinance creating an Economic Development Commission (EDC). I was part of the initial process, working with our city manager and others. I had gotten input from the previous Jefferson County Economic Development Consortium director, who suggested our city should examine the idea. We looked at several different models, and decided this route made the most sense for our city right now.

My desire to start an official Economic Development Commission in our city came from wanting to ensure that we continued working on the tougher economic issues, while leaving a broad scope in place for individuals on the commission to bring forth their own ideas and goals. I also wanted the group to have official authority and accountability under our city government.

Earlier this week, our city council approved the following individuals to serve on the EDC:

  • Bill Camplin, owner of the Cafe Carpe, 1 year term.
  • John Mielke, Fort Atkinson Industrial Development Corp. President, 1 year term.
  • Scott Housley, W&A Distribution Services Inc. CEO, 2 year term.
  • Mike Wallace, Fort Healthcare President, 2 year term.
  • Mark McGlynn, IPEC President, 3 year term.
  • Margaret Bare, Fort Tax Service Inc. owner, 3 year term.

I’m proud to say I was selected to serve as the city council representative on the commission. The city manager and Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce director will serve as ex-officio (non-voting) members.

I believe the people selected represent a very experienced and well rounded group. Hopefully many different viewpoints will be brought to the table.

Our city seems to have turned a corner of late, in terms of new and positive business growth. Previously empty buildings are starting to fill up again, and a few new businesses have recently come in (such as Aster Assisted Living, pictured below). However, we still have some major issues to deal with. My hope is that the new EDC will help with different issues, both big and small, in Fort Atkinson.

Click this link for the full story our local paper did on the EDC: Daily Jefferson County Union story (Section on the Economic Development Commission is about halfway through the story).

Thoughts? Comments? Reply below!

aster

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2 thoughts on “Our Economic Development Commission

  1. Rick Hill February 23, 2017 / 1:01 pm

    I’m very happy that Fort is taking an active role in ED. I hope you’re taking a look at what types of business you’re attracting on Main St. Retail in my opinion should be incentivized. What makes for a destination isn’t a main street full of professional store fronts but interesting mom & pop shops, the right mix of mom & pop shops. What if anything is being done to create an incentive for someone to take a chance and open a cool store on Main St?

    • Mason T. Becker February 23, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Interesting thoughts Rick. I agree that ideally, our downtown should be a mix of different types of businesses… Food, retail, some professional, etc. I’m not completely brushed up on what we have currently, but some type of incentive program may be worth looking at.

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