Communities rising: Towns in Minnehaha, Lincoln counties ready for big 2019

Jan. 23, 2019

This paid piece is sponsored by the Minnehaha County and Lincoln County Economic Development Associations.

The community names may be different, but often their stories are similar: It has been a big year for growth in the towns of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, and that doesn’t appear to be slowing as 2019 ramps up.

Nick Fosheim sits at the center of much of it.

As executive director of the Minnehaha County and Lincoln County Economic Development Associations, he helps guide growth and bring business to more than a dozen communities.

We checked in for his perspective on what’s ahead in 2019.

First, let’s look back at 2018. What kinds of trends did you notice in growth and development throughout Minnehaha and Lincoln counties?

  • Significant investment in infrastructure throughout our two counties in 2018 will pave the way for additional opportunity.
  • Creation of new areas for development. We’ve seen several examples of communities pushing their boundaries outward, but we also see several examples of communities that are filling in existing developments or seeing redevelopment opportunities.
  • Fairly balanced opportunity across sectors of the economy. Residential growth is a driver, but we are seeing strong growth in other sectors as population continues to rise.
  • The communities in our region have a high level of self-awareness. They have invested in research and data that is helping them drive their own decision-making and in attracting outside investment.

Was there anything that happened in 2018 in your communities that surprised you or that you maybe didn’t anticipate?

I wouldn’t say surprised, but I was reminded of how unique and diverse our regional economy is. MCEDA hosted a bus tour of Minnehaha County for county officials, and we met with leaders in manufacturing, mining, infrastructure and agriculture. There are unique opportunities here that will drive us forward. As a region, we are aspirational, but we are also grounded in the economic diversity that has contributed to our success.

As you look at the pipeline for 2019, how would you describe the level of interest and activity throughout the counties?

I see the pipeline being balanced in 2019. There is a robust inventory of land for commercial, industrial and housing opportunities throughout the region — some of it new — that will drive projects for several more years. That’s a credit to all of the public-private relationships that are driving future planning.

LCEDA and MCEDA are working on a project now with our community partners to invest in more detailed analysis of our development land so we can begin targeting specific industry sectors and showcase available sites in a new way.

Obviously each community is unique, but are there some common themes when it comes to what more they could use as far as resources, businesses or other investment?

We are fortunate to have several resource partners, but it can be overwhelming to know which resources to deploy at the appropriate times. At the regional level, we’re studying how we can provide a portal for our local partners to navigate and connect with more effectively.

Are there any developments or initiatives in your communities that you’re especially excited about or that you’re going to be watching this year?

Here’s what I’ll be paying attention to in 2019:

  • Residential construction activity. Lot inventory had been getting tight in many communities, but several new developments will be available starting this year.
  • The continued collaboration between school districts and the business community. These innovative partnerships have the potential to make an impact on our future workforce.
  • Infrastructure investments. This will say a lot about how we position the region for the future. These don’t always make headlines, but they’ll tell us where future projects might locate.
  • How we approach regional collaboration. The more we talk to each other, the better decisions we’ll make. This region is an ecosystem, and the health of each community is dependent on the health and vitality of the communities around us. If we all approach our work with an eye on regionalism, we’ll make a bigger impact.

For those in the counties who aren’t familiar with you and your organization, can you remind them of the services you offer and how best to connect with you?

LCEDA and MCEDA assist in representing economic development throughout Lincoln County and Minnehaha County, including 14 communities. Our key focus areas include business retention and expansion, and marketing. Connect with us on social media @LCEDAMCEDA or email me at nickf@siouxfalls.com.

Communities rising: Towns in Minnehaha, Lincoln counties ready for big 2019

The community names might be different, but often their stories are similar: It has been a big year for growth in the towns of Minnehaha and Lincoln counties, and that doesn’t appear to be slowing as 2019 ramps up.

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