June 11, 2007

Economic Development Partnership promotes Wright County to businesses

By Roz Kohls
Staff Writer

The Economic Development Partnership of Wright County offers assistance to businesses interested in locating in Wright County.

The county and its 16 cities are organized to offer financing assistance, workforce development, site location, and other resources for businesses.

In Delano, for example, the partnership has been working with Rick Schaffer and consultants from the Clearwater Development Group of Shoreview about the possibility of putting in a new motel and water park along Highway 12.

The multi-million-dollar project has been discussed with the Delano City Council at least twice, according to the partnership’s executive director Noel LaBine.

Delano is represented locally with Lee Carver, who was the founder of Delano-based business Sil-Pro. He has been on the board since January of this year.

“I know (and respect) Noel LaBine really well, and another Senior Board Member in Chuck Van Heel,” Carver said. “I think the both of them worked me over, you might say, to commit to join.”

He said he is interested in the economic growth of Wright County, and said promoting what the county has to offer is crucial.

“I think we must promote more industrial parks in our county, and better tax incentives to lure businesses here,” Carver said. “We must work hard to sell our county, thus creating more tax base and jobs closer to home for our people so they don’t have to travel 30 and 40 miles one way to go to work.”

The expansion of Olsen Chain & Cable in Cokato, and the growth of Dura Supreme in Howard Lake, are just two examples of the strength of manufacturing in the county, said LaBine. They are thriving despite weaknesses in the housing and auto sectors nationwide, he said.

Olsen Chain & Cable, which employs 50 people, moved into a new and bigger building at 310 1st St., in December in the industrial park on the north side of Cokato, according to company president, Dave Camp. The partnership intends to set up a tour in Olsen Chain & Cable after the move is complete.

Camp said the company, which manufactures hoists and tools, has been moving gradually so not to disrupt or delay its customers’ orders. He expects the move will be complete from its former location at 300 1st St. E., in mid-May, he said.

Dura Supreme, which employs 700, builds cabinets primarily used in residences.

“Apparently, their product is in demand for remodeling jobs, because with the large decrease in new home construction, how else could you explain expansion in the demand for their product?” said LaBine in the partnership’s April newsletter.

The partnership has 345 individuals involved in networking with community leaders from Wright County, developers, contractors, Realtors, and city representatives.

An event sponsored by the partnership is “The Status of Industrial Park Properties in Wright County and the Region,” May 16 in Rockwoods of Otsego.

Recent partnership events were a “Retail Analysis of Wright County,” April 25 at the Cinemagic Theater of St. Michael, a 2007 Area Job Fair March 20 at the Monticello High School, and “Transportation Plans for Wright County” seminar at the Silver Springs Golf Course in Monticello.

The partnership achieved one of its goals March 27, to have the Wright County Board of Commissioners raise the cap on the enterprise loan fund.

Eligible businesses can receive up to $50,000 for use of this fund, which include uses for permanent working capital.

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