BY CHUCK VANDENBERG – EDITOR
A reciprocal agreement signed earlier this year coordinating economic development efforts of southeast Iowa counties got a boost this past weekend as part of a Chicago strategy session.
Representatives of the Lee County Economic Development Group, along with reps from Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission and Des Moines and Henry counties traveled to Chicago this week to participate in the Mid America Competitiveness Conference and Site Selector Forum hosted by the Mid America Economic Development Council (MAEDC) as part of the Reciprocal Marketing Agreement (RMA) signed by the counties this past May.
Fort Madison Partners Executive Director Tim Gobble, who wasn’t able to attend the conference said the agreement has been a succesful tool in marketing southeast Iowa.
“It opens the door for more communication between the entities, LCEDG and FMED work well together, but thiscontinues to open doors for further development with Burlington and Mt Pleasant,” Gobble said.
“It’s a different level of communication we haven’t had before. We just recently received a question asking do you have this available and if we’re working with a client and they don’t have something they can see if we have it..”
Iowa Economic Development Director Debi Durham, along with other state ED Directors, also provided insight on economic trends and executive thoughts on how the Midwest region can become more attractive for investment.
While in Chicago the Southeast Iowa group consulted with individual developers, highlighting our area’s inventory of available land for development, co-location opportunities, and targeted industries that would benefit from our region’s unique assets. Through the RMA the three counties have a new framework for how to respond to regional inquiries and it empowers each individual organization to bring their strengths to the table in promoting the region’s significant sites.