First published in the Sentinel December 27, 2018
At the end of every year, I always like to reflect on the past year’s economic activity. It’s my way to take a mental ‘deep breath’ before recharging the brain and entering the new year full steam ahead. Here’s my list of happenings over the past year:
- At least six new businesses opened in the county. Four of those businesses are in Lincoln, including Lincoln Avenue Antiques & Collectibles, Rack-N-Fur Taxidermy, Lazy A Collectibles & Antiques, and Main Street Coffee & Things. The other two are the Sub Station in Beverly and Replenishing Hope (family counseling) in Sylvan Grove.
- At least two businesses have transitioned to new ownership including Home Town Café & Convenience and Replenishing Hope Guest Lodge (formerly The LOFT at 101).
- At least three businesses have significantly expanded over the past year. This includes Prairie Land Gamebirds constructing of a new pheasant incubator and hatchery, Eagle Communications bringing fiber internet to Lincoln, and Setter Dogs adding new facilities and expanding services.
- At least three buildings have undergone improvements or renovations including Craig & Mary Ann Stertz’s building in downtown Lincoln (where Main Street Coffee & Things is located) after completing a major project that has been underway for several years, Farmway Credit Union and the Denmark Hall.
Looking strictly at jobs data, the county’s unemployment rate is very low. According to the Kansas Department of Labor, our rate for October (the most recently reported figures as I write) is 2.3%. That is in line with surrounding counties with Ottawa County at 2.4%, Ellsworth County at 2.6%, Russell County at 2.8% and Mitchell County at 2.2%. The state rate is 3.0%.
A few stats related to the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation specifically include assisting in bringing $385,616 in federal and state grant funds into the county for a variety of projects. This includes: Community Development Block Grant funds for housing projects in Sylvan Grove, USDA Rural Energy for America Program funds for energy efficiency upgrades at Lincoln Grocery, JumpStart Kansas grants from the Kansas Department of Commerce for expansion efforts at Prairie Land Gamebirds and Your Other Family Doctor, Kansas Historical Society grant funds for surveying historic resources within the county and E-Community funds for starting a Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge with the schools and providing intensive marketing training to eight local businesses.
The LCEDF has also been spearheading several large and long-term planning projects that will eventually lead to walking paths, park improvements, and downtown property improvements. Hopefully, some of these will provide some good stats in 2019!
If you have any questions about the information above or are looking to make the year ahead a good one for your business, please feel free to stop by the LCEDF office in the county courthouse basement at 216 E. Lincoln Avenue in Lincoln, give me a call at 785-524-8954, or email me at LcedfDirector@Outlook.com. Thank you and have a very Happy New Year!
Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation