Wayland council updated on county economic development projects
By TRISHA PHELPS
Mt. Pleasant News
WAYLAND — “You come up here and you can tell the town takes pride in being here,” said Kiley Miller of the Mt. Pleasant Area Development Commission during his presentation to the Wayland City Council at Wednesday night’s meeting.
In his update to the council, Miller acknowledged that business recruitment isn’t where it was last year, but he is encouraged by the area’s business retention.
“The business recruitment front is not where the State of Iowa or southeast Iowa would like it to be. Obviously southeast Iowa took a big hit with the fertilizer plant, but in general business attraction has been pretty sluggish,” Miller said. “We have seen that. To put it in perspective, normally we work with the State of Iowa probably twice a month. I have yet to get a State of Iowa manufacturing project opportunity this year.”
Miller reported to the council that he isn’t sure why things are going the way they are, but it allows time to focus on other areas that are doing well.
“It is hard for us to see why this is. We don’t really get that information from the state. Attraction is a little bit slow. That puts more attention on our business retention, which I think is positive,” said Miller. “To show that we are working hard in that area, Thursday I am going to Des Moines and the governor will be giving us an award for the best business retention in the state of Iowa.”
“All we really did with that project was help them get some state funding, and that allowed the company to add 40 jobs. We like to do those sort of things around the county. We have certainly helped businesses in Wayland here, not on quite as big of projects, but we do work on that,” reported Miller.
“The businesses that are already here are the most important,” stressed Miller. “That’s where growth really happens. Unfortunately the public gets kind of swept up in recruitment and doesn’t really notice when the guy down the street added two new people. But those jobs stay and we want to help that happen.”
“Directly related to Wayland, we did make a $5,000 direct contribution to Wayland economic development for the acquisition of the industrial park. I have also had the opportunity of already fielding some inquiries about that property, so we are very excited about that,” said Miller.
“I’ve got to be honest, Wayland is the classic example of things just rolling along. I probably take five calls from every other community for every one I get from Wayland. Which speaks we to how you guys are doing,” said Miller.
In other business, City Clerk Bev Conrad reminded the council that the city got money from Enhance Henry County for the purchasing of some new playground equipment and that there was interest in purchasing more equipment.
“There was some interest from committee members to raise money, especially on the Fourth of July so that we can get enough equipment to take care of some of the items out here that aren’t as safe as we would like them to be,” said Conrad. “We’d like to get a set that they picked out, more geared to two to 12 year olds since we already have that larger slide set out there. We were looking at a fun ball set, a merry-go-round and some swings, and that would pretty much take care of what is out there. I just want to make sure this is something you guys want to do.”
The counsel approved having a fundraiser to help raise money for the playground equipment.
The council also:
• Approved a building permit for Dave Roth at the 100 block of South Pearl Street.
• Approved hiring part time summer utility help.
• Approved the purchase of running boards for the water utility truck.
The next council meeting will be May 15, at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.