Written by MARK JAEGER
Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:06
Village revolving loan fund one option eyed to spur local development
The Village of Fredonia’s Economic Development Committee invited a state spokesperson to spur conversation at its Sept. 10 meeting, but it turned out village officials had plenty of ideas of their own on how to enhance the local economy.
Neil White of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation outlined for committee members an array of state programs offering grants and tax credits to promote business growth.
However, Village President Don Dohrwardt said the possibility of a local program could be even more effective in offering a boost to Fredonia’s economy.
“We’ve got something like $110,000 in a village account from selling industrial park lots in our (tax incremental financing) district. Maybe we could set up a revolving loan fund, like the county has, to attract businesses,” Dohrwardt said.
“That way we could keep that money working. Having it sitting there collecting .5% isn’t doing much good.”
White said the village could help the state agency do a better job of promoting Fredonia if it would develop an inventory of available commercial properties, whether they are vacant lots or buildings prime for redevelopment.
That database or a detailed community fact sheet would be useful for the state as well as for Ozaukee County Economic Development, the county’s development agency.
“That is something you could share with the county, to get your foot in the door when an opportunity comes up,” White said.
In addition, Dohrwardt invited committee members to identify properties in the village that could be converted to more productive uses.
The committee also made it a priority to earmark larger parcels of open land that might make desirable future industrial sites.
“We have to figure out where we could realistically put another industrial park,” Dohrwardt said.
He noted that the village is often competing with local farmers who are looking for additional cropland.
Dohrwardt said the need for industrial land near amenities and rail service could even push officials to acquire rural land that could be swapped in exchange for more centrally located land.