One strategy that many economic development corporations explore is the creation of an industrial park. Far-sighted community leaders hope that a new manufacturing plant will locate on one of the sites, but regardless of its ultimate use, the vital point is that an industrial park is NOT just “Land For Sale” – it’s a community’s economic future.
An industrial park is a key development strategy in creating jobs and enhancing community prosperity. The whole purpose of having available industrial land, already zoned, with utilities in place, is to attract new and expanding businesses to town. Those companies bring new primary jobs and affect existing local commerce by adding customers. Often, those new companies would not consider any community where land is not available and ready to build upon. So the industrial park helps to attract attention, indicates that the community is serious about growth and gives economic development officials an extra tool in building the community.
Not all industrial park land is equal and each park is as unique as the town that creates it. A variety of factors influence the types of businesses that may locate there. Parcel sizes, utility capacities, access to transportation routes and other services can drive the decision-making process for businesses. Site readiness is also a key factor in today’s competitive economic development landscape, so completing the homework on these properties up front will help attract companies that are a good fit for the community.
This strategy is an investment in the long-term vision of the community and doesn’t always translate to instant success. With patience, partnerships and persistence, these community assets can produce a return on investment.
Because of all they do to improve local economies, add to regional employment opportunities and make our area more attractive to new business, community industrial parks are much more than just “Land For Sale!”
By Nick Fosheim, Executive Director, Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations
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