Vermillion celebrates year of progress Friday By David Lias To say that Vermillion has experienced change in the past year is a bit of an understatement.
Like all South Dakota communities, the city has faced its fair share of challenges.
It has also set its sights high, and met many of its goals.
Lisa Ketcham, executive director of the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and Development Company, reminded local business people of the strides the community has made in the past 12 months.
"We have experienced a year of change," she said at the local Chamber and Development Company's annual banquet Friday night at The Eagles. "We predicted improvements and continuous success. I'm here to tell you that everything that we predicted has come true."
Vermillion has made economic gains by successfully recruiting four new businesses � Masaba, Masterworks, TRL Company and Wal-Mart.
Those new businesses represent over $20 million in new investment and 450 jobs for the city.
The city and VCDC also purchased and remodeled the Market Street Professional Building to house an anchor tenant and a business incubator facility.
An advisory board was also formed for the Vermillion Entrepreneurship Center to promote entrepreneurship, to provide networking and educational opportunities, and to manage prospective tenants and professional services to generate new business opportunities for Vermillion, the region and the state.
Six new business openings and expansions were celebrated in the city in the last year. The VCDC also worked with approximately a dozen businesses on potential relocations or expansions to Vermillion.
The development company assisted several local businesses and entrepreneurs with plans; worked with the University Village Steering Committee to select a development partner and proceed with plans to create a retirement community; and assisted with securing several grants and local cooperation for infrastructure improvements.
A review of the VCDC's activities also reveals scores of events in the areas of Ambassadors/public relations, retail and promotions, and convention and visitors.
VCDC membership increased by 20 percent in the past year. The company responded to over 10,000 inquiries about Vermillion, sold over $10,000 in Vermillion Bucks, and enhanced its Web site and Community Guide Book. It also created "Visit Vermillion" brochures.
The VCDC's board of directors took time Friday to honor individuals who have helped make a positive difference in Vermillion.
The VCDC Community Leader Award was presented to Sue French.
Mayor Dan Christopherson presented the Mayor's Community Service Award to Kevin Jacobson for his efforts in the past year to promote historical preservation and help develop downtown's streetscape plan.
Christopherson also presented a special award to Jack Powell, whose many community activities include service on the library board and the Vermillion City Council.
The Excellence in Family Business Award was presented to Scott and Curt Schempp, owners of Herren-Schempp Building Supply.
Maxine Johnson was presented the United Way Volunteer of the Year Award for her selfless contributions to the community.
Lindy and Paulette Wipf, owners/operators of Pres-
sing Matters, received the Beautiful Neighbor Award sponsored by Vermillion Beautiful, Inc.