First published in the Lincoln Sentinel on December 22, 2016
It’s hard to believe another year has come and gone and even harder to believe how much economic activity has happened in that year in our little corner of the world. Here are a few of this year’s stats:
- At least 10 new businesses opened in the county this past year. This includes seven new businesses in Lincoln (Rustic Floral & Gifts, BC Diesel, Don’s Glass Shop & Handyman, Mrs. B’s Greenhouse & Nursery, Ivan’s Wholesale Merchandise, Your Other Family Doctor, and Wee Care Day Care), two in Sylvan Grove (Post Rock Beef and Country Soul), and one in Vesper (Triple H Outfitters).
- Construction of two new commercial buildings including BC Diesel’s facility in Lincoln’s Industrial Park and Rustic Floral & Gifts’ new shop in downtown Lincoln.
- Several businesses are in the process of expanding including US Towers in Lincoln and Country Soul moving into space in downtown Sylvan Grove.
- At least three properties are undergoing major renovations, or have already completed work, including remodeling of the Garden Walk Apartments in Lincoln, a new foundation for the depot in Sylvan Grove, and a rebuilt roof and interior structure of a long-vacant and building in downtown Lincoln.
Looking strictly at jobs data, our numbers have held steady in this area over the past year as well. Our unemployment rate for October was 3.7%. As a comparison, Ottawa County’s rate is the same as ours, Ellsworth County’s is 4.1%, Russell County’s is 4.4%, and the statewide rate is 4.0%. The national rate is 4.7%.
As for the Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation (LCEDF), I feel we’ve had a good year. Our revolving loan fund assisted with $75,000 worth of financing to local businesses to leverage another $275,000 in business investment. Some of our other major activities included:
- Working with the city councils of Lincoln and Sylvan Grove on renewing their Neighborhood Revitalization Programs. This offers property tax rebates to owners for qualified improvements to their properties.
- Assisting the County Commission on plans for major renovations to Lincoln Park Manor. This is to maintain a high quality of life for residents and long-term sustainability of the facility.
- Being designated an E-Community (‘E’ is for Entrepreneurship) by Network Kansas. This gives us a new funding source to support businesses and entrepreneurs in the county.
- Recruiting a mobile veterinary clinic to provide services here locally. This has allowed a much more convenient option for those who have animals and pets to get the care they need.
- Focusing on our need for more daycare providers. Thus far it has resulted in one new provider with the potential for an additional one or two in the coming year.
I think what excites me most about this past year is the position we have put ourselves in for the year ahead. I already have quite a ‘watch list’ of business activity going and I am really looking forward to doing what I can to make all of it happen.
If you have any questions about the stats 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 [email protected].
Kelly Larson, Executive Director
Lincoln County Economic Development Foundation