Infrastructure Development Activities
- At a Visions Northwest Board meeting in January, we were confirmed in receiving a $50,000 grant from WEDC to do a utility infrastructure study in the 10 county region.
- I encouraged the Towns of Eileen, Barksdale, Bayfield and Russell to pass and send resolutions regarding broadband build out, to Mark Scribner, Area Supervisor for CenturyLink. This spring we should receive an update on timeline of build out in the area.
- Our business park planning committee for the Bayfield County Business Park has met twice this quarter with Cedar Corporation. We are working toward the potential of a wetland delineation study at the site, and have begun discussing potential roads and utility infrastructure as well.
- I met with Kathy Wendling, Bayfield County Supervisor, and shared thoughts on a broadband meeting I attended in Stevens Point. I provided her info in preparation for a broadband expansion grant later this year, plus connected her with Angie Dickison of the PSC Broadband office.
Local/Regional Projects & Events
- Our Visions Northwest executive committee made plans for a series of RIsE breakfasts in the locations of Ashland, Siren and Phillips this spring. Many stakeholders from the region are being invited to hear what their needs are throughout the region for further direction of Visions Northwest.
- I attended a two hour Economic Development seminar hosted by APEX, featuring Phil Schneider who spoke at their meeting yesterday. This was a good time to pose questions to him who has had over 30 years of experience in the field working with clients wanting to secure sites for their companies.
- I attended the WEDA Conference in Madison. The program featured workforce readiness, infrastructure planning and financing. I also attended the WEDA legislative day, visiting the offices of Janet Bewley, Beth Meyers and Nick Milroy in Madison, on topics tied to economic development.
BCEDC Specific Projects
- Staff from UWSP-NADF, Ian Meeker of Bayfield County and me worked on, and Ian submitted, a grant application to the Apostle Islands Area Fund for aquaponics funding for Bayfield High School, which is looking promising for funding. Another overall fund has been submitted for other schools in the region with aquaponics.
- Along with consulting with Brian Hanson of APEX, we have done more targeted direct mail marketing to select Bayfield County 2nd Home Owners. We will also continue this in Q2. Hopes are that this type of targeting will result in business expansion in the county.
- Elissa Hansen & Jon Loss of Steam Creative Consulting, along with Roger Peck of Superior Lighthouse presented at our March 14 BCEDC meeting, and reviewed the new updated website which was received well with our board. They made recommendations for increasing the SEO of the site, and potential social media marketing.
- I attended our January Business on Stage event, featuring Tim Weber of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and Drew Nussbaum of the Wisconsin Dept. of Tourism, reviewing their programs for businesses. This topic was well received with a good attendance of over 40 people on a January night.
- The BCEDC held its first Business Support Breakfast on February 10. I did an update on the BCEDC, and then provided time for the businesses to provide us input. Very good turnout and supporters saw value in this type of event.
- Drummond High School staff and Cable area business leaders made plans for the “Career Development Day” for Monday, April 18th for all 4 high school classes. This will be the second time we have held this event.
I met with the Cornucopia Business Association in Cornucopia in March at one of their planning session meetings. I gave an update of BCEDC, and shared services provided.
Q1 2016 Total Business Visits: 56
– Scottie Sandstrom, Executive Director