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EDA ‘boots on the ground’ making a difference

Last spring members of the Marshall City Council held a series of town hall meetings. Council members Russ Labat and Steven Meister held the first one at the Marshall-Lyon County Library. While Labat and Meister fielded questions involving a number of topics, economic development was the No. 1 concern.

At the time, Marshall residents were struggling with the shock that Shopko was closing due to the company’s bankruptcy and 55 jobs would be lost.

“We need to take a good look at what we’re doing to recruit businesses,” one audience member told Labat and Meister. Labat’s answer to the question: Marshall was taking an active approach to business recruitment.

Since that town hall, Marshall has a lot to feel good about when it comes to economic development. Both Hobby Lobby and Ashley Furniture opened up store fronts in the old Kmart building off of Highway 23.

Within the last three months, a couple of major employers announced expansion projects. In August, Action Trackchair said it was expanding its Marshall headquarters in the industrial park and Harrison Truck Centers broke ground on its expansion plans.

Recently, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the first of three apartment complexes along Legion Field Road. The 36-unit complex opened to renters last month and is already 80% full.

And at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, a Minnesota-based developer presented its proposal to build a mixed-use building next to the Varsity Pub on Main Street. It would feature office space and 56 apartment units. Renderings showed a modern looking building that would more than likely improve the looks of the downtown area.

Some of these recent developments are happening because of growth in the community. But other developments can also be chalked up to many behind-the-scenes people who work tirelessly to promote Marshall.

Some of these folks work with the Marshall Economic Development Authority. In an Independent article on economic development a month ago, Marshall Economic Development Authority Director Tara Onken explained the benefits of EDAs.

“We are boots on the ground,” she said.

Well, these “boots on the ground” are making a difference in our community.

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