Grow Spink annual meeting held, 2018 accomplishments discussed
By Shiloh Appel
Grow Spink, an organization dedicated to promoting business development and expansion throughout Spink County, held its annual meeting on Wednesday, January 9th, 2019, at the Diamond T Bar and Steakhouse in Redfield with about 25 people in attendance.
Executive Director, Gianna Lantero, introduced board members Clayton Blachford, Corey Baloun, Paul Domke, Michelle Stuck, Joe Morrissette, Dustin Rische, Rick Skorupski and Craig Oberle.
Lantero also gave an overview of Grow Spink's 2018 activities.
"We did the career fair event in September at the 4-H grounds and that was amazing," said Lantero. "We are planning a 'know your financials' business class in March with the Small Business Development Center in Aberdeen. They will come down. They have done a few in the past for businesses in town on different topics every time they come."
Lantero went on to explain other projects that Grow Spink has been working on in the areas of rural development, small business and educational opportunities. In the area of housing and rural development, Lantero said Grow Spink has been developing a house plan.
"We call it the Grow Spink House. There will be a two bedroom and a three-bedroom option. And, pretty much, it is just an affordable house. We want to fill that gap between people who are retiring, professionals, and people who are looking to start a family. We want to provide this house that covers all of those needs in Spink County. We are in our final stages of that and we started right when I jumped into this job in August. So, hopefully we will get final plans here soon and in the future see those go up around the county," she said."We kind of took the Governor's House [program] and put a little twist on it. Made some tweaks and made it a little bigger. So it is a spin-off of that and we are hoping it will be a nicer home and one that is a little more affordable for those kinds of families. If someone calls and they have land and they want to build a house, but they have no idea what they are wanting, we can offer that to them. We are hoping to get one started this spring. We are looking at doing our first one in Northville and Clayton Blachford is also the mayor, so he has been wonderful in helping. It is not final yet, so we are just trying to get all of our plans finalized."
As far as small business, Lantero said that Grow Spink has helped a few businesses in the past year with becoming established.
"I tell community members that we don't necessarily have a revolving loan fund where we can offer the money for a business or for a house for that matter, but we are here to be a resource for people to get started. A lot of people that call, ask 'do you have a business plan' and then we'll go from there. I send them to the Small Business Development Center and they work with these business employers and put together a business plan. That is our first step, to get them a contact," said Lantero."Then if they need help looking for lots or purchasing a building, we will help with that. We just get them connected with all of the resources in the community that they need to be able to be successful."
Lantero also said that Grow Spink plans to aid in a project this year led by Redfield high schoolers to encourage their involvement in the community.
"Through Dakota Resources, with the Empower Program, Mike [Knutson] and I went into the school towards the end of last year and worked with the kids. We tried to find out what they wanted to work on in the community. Things that are dear to them, what projects they would like to do and what they would like to change," said Lantero."We kind of tend to forget about the youth and not include them as much, so we made a point to go and speak with them. I tried to make the point in our annual meeting, 'what are we doing as local community leaders to make these kids feel welcome and willing to help and get them involved.' That was a really great meeting."
Lantero also talked about the Empower Program, which has been holding meetings for the past two years in Redfield to encourage community involvement in the growth of Redfield and the surrounding area.
Scott Amundson, who serves as Grow Spink's Community Development Representative with the Governor's office of Economic Development, served as the key speaker during the annual meeting.
"He handed out statistics on Spink County and Redfield as far as workforce and population numbers. It was very interesting to see how many people come to Redfield to work, how many people go out of town to work, how many people work in Aberdeen and live in town, and things like that," said Lantero.
According to statistics provided by Amundson, the labor force in Spink County has been declining, but 2018 signaled a leveling off and a possible rebound. In a 2015 workforce inflow/outflow analysis, 501 people were shown to both live and work in Redfield, 716 people (58.8%) were shown to live in Redfield while employed outside of Redfield and 531people (51.5%) were shown to be employed in Redfield and live outside of Redfield.
The annual meeting came to a close at 8p.m. after a time for questions and answers.