SCEDC has been a force for growth in area

THE SHEBOYGAN COUNTY ECONOMIC Development Corp. is doing great things for the entire county – including Plymouth.

The SCEDC was formed three years ago as a joint initiative between local governments and private industry and business to help maintain the local economy and foster growth and development.

It made a huge impact here in Plymouth as a catalyst for a $13.4 million investment by Dairy Farmers of America in their plant here, keeping 357 jobs in Plymouth that otherwise would have been moved elsewhere. That equalled annual payroll and benefits of around $20 million – no small change

The SCEDC was instrumental in putting together a $1.6 million package of incentives from the state, the city and other local partners that brought the deal home.

The SCEDC’s annual report quotes Christopher J. Girod of DFA’s tax consulting firm as saying of the corporation’s efforts in facilitating the deal, “This was one of the best efforts I’ve ever experienced in terms of state and local economic development and government representatives collaboratively working together toward a common goal. The project partners all definitely deserve a round of applause.”

The SCEDC has also played a lead role in bringing together the private/public partnership that has helped finance the restoration of the Plymouth-Sheboygan Falls rail line, which will preserve existing jobs in Sheboygan Falls and provide another incentive for industrial growth in Plymouth.

But the SCEDC is not resting on its laurels, Executive Director Dane Checolinski made clear to the Plymouth City Council last week.

The group is stepping up its efforts to market available commercial and industrial space in Plymouth and throughout the county, pulling together disparate and haphazard listings and promotions on their website, along with other demographic and economic information, to make one-stop shopping easier for those looking to locate in Sheboygan County.

Their efforts may continue to bear greater fruit for Plymouth specifically, Checolinski told the council.

For instance, he said, the SCEDC has been engaged by two dairyrelated industries interested in starting up new facilities in Plymouth. His group will offer their usual proven services in non-traditional financing, site selection and workforce development.

There are many obstacles the SCEDC has to overcome in its effort to bring business and jobs to Sheboygan County – including the county’s status as the only full county in the state still in nonattainment of federal air quality standards.

But Checolinski did share some potential good news, at least for Plymouth. He said efforts are underway to get at least the western half of the county removed from the non-attainment zone – which was done in Kenosha County.

That would ease licensing and approval for new industrial projects in Plymouth – which would not be under stricter EPA guidelines if it were no longer in the non-attainment area.

That would provide another welcome spur to potential growth in Plymouth.

All in all, the results SCEDC has provided for Plymouth are more than ample justification for the city’s annual contribution to the corporation.

At issue:
Local job growth partnership
Bottom line:
Well worth the investment

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