JKEDC Conducts Annual Meeting; Seeks Grants For Further Economic Development
The Jackson-Kadoka Economic Development Corporation (JKEDC) conducted its annual meeting on Feb. 9. The Board delayed their annual meeting originally scheduled for Jan. 5 due to illness and rescheduled the Feb. 2 due to scheduling conflicts. Board members attending the evening’s meeting included JoBeth Eisenbraun, Donna Enders, Patty Groven, Brian Hundertmark, Lonny Johnston, Rusty Olney and Eileen Stolley. Ryan Willert, city council member, also attended the meeting as a liaison between the JKEDC and the City.
After calling the meeting to order, the Board approved the agenda for the meeting and, after review, approved the December 2021 meeting minutes. Before proceeding with matters of business, Olney pointed out that the Board needed to maintain the continuity of governance as two of its officers’ terms expired. He nominated Enders and Johnston to each serve an additional three-year term, confirmed by a unanimous vote by the other Board members. The new year also required electing new officers and Enders motioned to have all JKEDC officers maintain their current positions. The Board voted unanimously to approve her motion.
Eisenbraun, JKEDC executive director, presented financial reports for the operational and revolving loan accounts as of Jan. 31, 2022. The JKEDC received a Rural Business Development Grant in 2012 and developed a revolving loan account. Eisenbraun provided a report on that account to the Board, including the balance of the remaining loans. The grant, made possible through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, allocated money to “a variety of agencies and institutions to promote spending and economic growth.” In the decade since receiving the grant, the revolving loan account proved crucial in developing three new businesses in Kadoka in addition to helping another through a separate loan. These loans serve to assist qualified buyers with the startup of a new business or provide opportunities for existing ones. An independent, voluntary loan board reviews the applications and determines the eligibility of loan applicants. The JKEDC website at www.growkadoka.com provides information on the application process for a loan.
Stolley reported submitting applications for various grants to assist with the continued development of the Buffalo Stampede Rodeo Grounds. The community is preparing for the Kadoka Area School All-Class Reunion which includes a rodeo sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. During the council meeting in January, the City authorized the purchase of three portable bleachers for use at the rodeo grounds to meet immediate seating needs and for use by the community as needed for various events. Stolley applied for a $50,000 grant through T-Mobile’s Hometown Grant program, in which “they’re investing big in small towns by awarding up to 100 towns a year with project funding.” Through the program, T-Mobile focuses on “revitalizing community spaces in towns with 50,000 people or less.” The funds from the T-Mobile grant would pay for canopies at the rodeo grounds to provide cover for rodeo patrons. She also reported applying for a grant through the South Dakota Community Foundation, which “offers an array of grants to help state nonprofits realize their dreams and continue investing in their communities.” The $20,000 grant would provide funds to update the electrical service provided to the rodeo grounds. The project includes the removal of wooden utility poles that support electrical lines used to provide lighting for the rodeo grounds and to furnish electricity for the concessions stand. The plan includes installation of underground conduit, a sleeve to enclose electrical lines, to meet the current and future electrical needs at the rodeo grounds. Stolley informed the Board that she also applied for a $30,000 Economic Development Grant sponsored by Golden West Telecommunications. Applications for the grant “are open to entities involved in projects that not only create or improve economic viability, but also improve the quality of life in the communities we serve.”
Discussion turned to finding a facility to accommodate Vision Source Specialists (VSS), Rapid City, which operated a satellite clinic one day per week in Philip. VSS conducted vision examinations, offered patients an inventory of eyeglasses and fulfilled the needs of the patients. Previously, VSS operated from a space in the Philip Clinic, but the clinic required additional space to accommodate its patients and severed the rental agreement. VSS would like to continue the satellite clinic to continue to provide this service to the area.
Willert noted the City plans to develop lots fronting on Maple Street to provide site-ready building lots for traditional stick-built homes, manufactured homes or mobile homes. Willert reported the City is working with Schmucker, Paul, Nohr & Associates engineering firm to “have a plan to put in utilities and get lots where people could get set up for the next school year.” The regional housing shortage continues to be a major topic for area communities and providing site ready building lots encourages professionals to consider relocating to the area to work in the school, nursing home or clinic.
Olney provided the director’s report to the Board and expressed his interests in forming a community foundation or fund, as “local foundations can seek outside financial support from federal, state, and private sources, serving as an advocacy body for the community. They can coordinate joint local government and private sector efforts.” He cited the community of Wall as an example. There, an endowment for a community fund remains intact and the interest provides funding for various projects in the community. He pointed out that establishing a local community fund could greatly assist with various projects within the community that promote economic development.
Enders reported that the Friends of the Jackson County Library plan to host a fundraising event in March which includes a cornhole tournament, cribbage games and food. The group also plans to meet in March with city, county and school officials to ensure that the new library facility meets the needs of the community.
The next meeting for the JKEDC will be on March 2 at 6 p.m. in the community room at the Gateway Apartments. The public is invited and encouraged to attend the meetings.