Director's Blog about Past and Future-Part 1

Thursday, March 19, 2020

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The future of Deuel Area Development, Inc., rests in the hands of the people, businesses and entities that support it. Currently the DADi Board of Directors are looking to the future of DADi. The officers were chosen and they've begun to meet to discuss what the future of DADi looks like.

Some of you may know that DADi began in 2008 as a county-wide initiative so they chose "area" in the name because there was commitment throughout the county. All the communities in DC were represented and in this assessment they decided a joint organization would be the smartest way to go about development. An ExecutiveDirector was hired full-time (Brianna Hoffman) thanks to the Rural Policy Research Institute (RUPRI Center (grant writers) & The Learning Center in Howard. Deuel County Community Foundation was started separately. In their funding they would help DADi when the financial need arose.
 

Under RUPRI, two grants were awarded from SD USDA starting an office and a project direction initiated. The Deuel County area was on board. Office space was donated by the DC Commissioners, with office hours in Gary at DNB National Bank. These two grants were crucial in getting DADi off the ground with their branding, office space, Entrepreneur Coaching and training development, Stakeholders founded, a county-wide website, community awareness, two incubators (Kitchen & business), and ways for sustainability.
Upon Briana’s resignation, Joan Sacrison was hired part-time and began overseeing the completion of the 1st grant and the start and finish of the 2nd. Through the course of the years, DADi has added “community” to the job description of economic development director.
Economic Development itself has seen many changes in the past several years. It use to take on the look of bringing in big business that employed a solid workforce. That has changed over time. There are many moving parts to economic and community development that the idea of just bringing in big business will not work. Some communities have built an industrial park to house those businesses. They pour thousands of dollars into the idea that a business will come and will stay forever. Beresford, SD was one such community that wined and dined a business to come and after so many years the business became financially unstable and left Beresford, with bills and no loyalty to the community to make it work. As author of this blog I’m not opposed to an industrial park or bringing in businesses. Deb and Becky of “Saveyour.town” website talks about entrepreneurs.
 
I like the idea of entrepreneurs and I agree that it is possibly the best to support small towns. Starting businesses in the garage like Tech Ord, SD Partners and even Daktronics down the road in Brookings were great starts.
What I am opposed to is doing it without looking at our communities first. For one, will people--newcomers & returnees, want to come back to our communities to live? Are we thriving? How are our city streets? What’s the infrastructure look like? Are areas kept up and clean? Is there shopping, friendliness, and what’s the school system look like? Are there jobs, a hospital, clinic, doctors? Is there a great deal going on like youth activities, recreation, golfing and programs in which to draw them to our area. The way I see it, if we are not thriving, then we will not see growth. Maybe we’re content to be a bedroom community and people shop and work elsewhere, but that means at the same time spend their money there as well. That means tax dollars are go elsewhere too to develop other’s streets and pot holes. Is that enough for small town rural areas. Are we content with that happening or do we want more? Do we want to keep our lifestyle that we know or our ancestors knew for years? I personally think we all need to want more but we have to work for it. Then there comes the initiative to support local and shopping, eating and doing business at home.
DADi has land that came with a merger with ECDC and the merged board decided it was time to start developing. Housing development Wildlife Estates started because there was land to develop. Through a grant/loan, funds were procurred that did not require paying interest. The idea was to create jobs, provide new housing, and free up other homes for sale. Over a 10 year period that began in 2016, a payment would be made yearly to pay for Wildlife Estates.
This past year, with public interest in “twin type” homes, DADi built a “twin home concept” single unit 1400 sq.ft. spec home that has zero steps and is ADA compliant, and would secure one of the lots in the development to be included in the sale. The idea was to sell an already built home for someone that wants to move into Clear Lake because they’re downsizing, retiring, or young family that wants a small home also creating jobs for the local community. Not too many developments within our county have infrastructure in place to include utilities, paved roads, and curb. That is a positive to the purchase of this lot and home.
Deciding direction is never easy for such a large organization. Issues seem easy but many times they are not; nor is the direction always made clear. Finances and how others look at the process also has to be taken into consideration. Also looking at ways and researching how others fund the position in their counties enter in.
Being pro-active is a directive all rural communities need to heed. The future of development rests in the hands of the citizens, businesses, and our local government office holders. That is why the future of DADi at this juncture is so important for the future. Deciding the future needs to include smart choices, collaboration, finances and a long range plan along with long range plans for the county and communities involved. The decisions that will be made on this initiative to continue to work requires communication between all the entities involved and Board of Directors to move into the future.

Category: The Directors Corner