GROW Watertown 2.0
WDC’s leadership has developed a new five-year strategy to maintain and build upon our positive momentum. This initiative continues to emphasize our core strengths and growth opportunities, supplemented and enhanced with strategies and tactics designed to address the challenges and realities of today.
In Fall 2022, 34 private and public sector leaders, including each of us, provided input regarding areas the WDC should focus on over the next five years. Through public forums, the following areas were selected to be the focus for 2024-2028:
Retention & Expansion
- Continue to strengthen a comprehensive BRE program, including objectives, schedule, and a formal database for business information.
- Coordinate BRE visits with GOED representatives whenever appropriate and / or feasible.
- Assist in connecting businesses to local, state, regional, and federal programs.
- Provide economic development-related technical assistance to surrounding communities that impact our local economy.
- Maintain a disaster relief revolving loan fund for assistance in the case of unexpected events that impact business operations or bridge the gap between disasters and when federal funds are available.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $500,000
- Continuously update marketing pieces regarding development assets such as available sites, utility rates, connectivity, tax structure, etc.
- Partner with existing local and regional companies and GOED to identify vendor/supplier businesses that could benefit from locating in Watertown.
- Prospect for new businesses via relationships with site selection companies and attendance at relevant tradeshows.
- Develop long-range plan for location and funding for land for future industrial development.
- Explore construction of 5th WDC-owned spec building.
- Continue to build on services to assist entrepreneurs and early-stage companies, including curriculum such as Co.Starters, hosting resource fairs, connection with mentors and potential investors, and exploration of a WDC-managed fund.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $725,000
- Continue support of employee recruitment efforts, including relocation assistance and related tools.
- Continue partnership with LATC’s “Stretch the Million” program to help drive engagement with local industries.
- Support efforts to engage New Americans and other populations in the area’s workforce.
- Grow collaboration with Watertown School District (including pre-K-12, NTHS, and LATC), SD DLR, and other entities on workforce programs targeted toward indemand careers.
- Continue support of Challenger Learning Center of SD and other innovative educational vehicles to promote STEM careers and other in-demand fields.
- Maintain active dialogue with area stakeholders to drive continuous improvement of existing programs and direction of new initiatives.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $825,000
- Support capital improvements made by the City of Watertown (ice arena, Downtown Plaza, City Hall, etc.) by assisting with surrounding development and development of previous assets.
- Invest in data tools that will help identify development opportunities and provide intelligence on targeted efforts for workforce and business attraction.
- Actively support efforts to increase housing inventory at all levels, in accordance with study, to accommodate current needs and additional workforce.
- Support community groups by providing technical assistance and connection to development tools to increase availability of childcare.
- Support community programs, initiatives, and events.
- Collaborate with the City of Watertown, Watertown Area Chamber of Commerce, Watertown Convention and Visitors Bureau, and other groups on initiatives to increase activities and investments that promote quality of place.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $1,125,000
- Maintain up-to-date brand assets for use on all platforms for marketing, attraction, and promotional efforts to support WDC’s strategic plan.
- Continually evaluate and identify opportunities for increased investor participation.
- Maintain an active presence at community events, including public meetings, to build and grow relationships with community leaders and stakeholders and identify opportunities for WDC participation and investment.
- Promote a standard of excellence and culture of continuous improvement by investing in professional development activities for the staff and organization, encouraging pursuit and maintenance of relevant certifications and accreditations.
- Provide regular updates to investors via published newsletters, reports, and inperson presentations.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $325,000
This fund would enable WDC and the community to act or react quickly and effectively in response to unforeseen opportunities or crises that may arise. Potential uses might include (but not limited to):
- Entrepreneurial support fund or investment fund
- Gap financing for economic development projects
- Matching funds for new State / Federal programs
- Pursuit of some of the exploratory items in the plan, should action be recommended, such as spec building, land acquisition, etc.
The fund would be restricted for purposes that directly contribute to WDC goals and mission and the economic benefit of the Watertown community and would require formal deliberation and approval by WDC leadership. Other communities have used similar approaches for competitive advantage, and we believe Watertown will benefit from the flexibility and nimbleness this fund would enable.
TOTAL BUDGET NEEDS: $500,000
PROJECTED ECONOMIC IMPACT
- Total jobs – 959
- Income – $58,606,352
- Output (new business revenue) – $219,187,530
- Consumer Spending – $48,141,543
Private sector investors will see $6.63 returned in average corporate profits for ever $1.00 invested.
Public sector investors will receive annual tax revenue for South Dakota, Codington County, and its municipalitites and special tax districts that equal $2.25 for every $1.00 invested.