Growing Vermillion initiative holds industrial growth workshop

Growing Vermillion initiative holds industrial growth workshop On Wednesday, May 22, over 20 representatives of the Growing Vermillion Initiative organization, including Mayor Roger L. Kozak and several members of the Vermillion City Council, held a workshop to identify types of industrial activity and jobs that the community should recruit. Held at the Vermillion Library, this workshop was the second of three workshops that a part of a larger study intended to produce a Vermillion Industrial Growth and Site Utilization Plan.

Earlier this year, the Vermillion Development Company hired the Minneapolis-St. Paul based consultant firm Short Elliott Hendrickson Inc. (SEH) to inventory current industrial zones and industry, document industry and worker requirements for industrial growth and expansion, and facilitate a series of workshops to prioritize types of desired industries and to develop a strategy and timeline for recruiting new industries to Vermillion.

The May 22 workshop participants debated and discussed key strength of Vermillion, in terms of attracting new industries. The participants identified good transportation access, available and skilled labor force, good education services, including a local university, solid infrastructure and municipal services, affordable land, and good local health care services.

SEH Director of Community Planning Services Dan Cornejo asked the group to identify weaknesses, as well, but cautioned against focusing on them. He advised that the community should channel its energies and funds to capitalizing on strengths. He also pointed out that industrial firms and investors look at the total community and its quality of life for workers and their families. In this context, he said that good schools and cultural/recreation activities are as important as available flat land and utilities. Opportunities for spousal employment and job options are as important as good roads.

The workshop participants emphasized industrial activity rather than industrial buildings. Without ruling out any of the following industry types, they ranked them as follows:

1. Warehouse/Distribution (large low-rise storage facilities)

2. Research (foster innovation, transfer technology)

3. Technology (co-locate companies to promote business development)

4. Incubator (small start-up businesses)

5. Industrial (large-scale manufacturing)

6. Logistical/Commerce (value-added services, showrooms, wholesale)

7. Corporate (office, research, and manufacturing combined)

The third workshop is scheduled for June 18, to be held at the Vermillion Public Library. That workshop will establish an organized and targeted approach for recruiting industries.

For more information, contact Mayor Roger Kozak at (605) 677-7050 or Vermillion Development Corporation Executive Director Craig Atkins at (605) 624-5572.

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