The Clarke County Development Corporation (CCDC) board, leadership from the City, local business owners, and economic development professionals from around the State came together Friday at Osceola’s Revelton Distillery for CCDC’s 2022 Annual Planning Retreat. The first planning event of its kind since COVID, this year’s sessions kicked off a day-long discussion surrounding the future development needs of the area and the launch of a new, comprehensive development plan – one driven through community involvement.
“The 2020 census showed positive growth for Osceola and Clarke County,” said Bill Trickey, CCDC Executive Director. “Sessions like these are imperative understanding where our community is going and how to build future success and growth.”
The morning started with a reminder of the success the area has seen over the past years. With Clarke County growing beyond other southern Iowa counties by a wide margin, city numbers outpaced even the overall State of Iowa growth. The Development Corporation attributed much of that progress to the area’s decade-plus of dedicated workforce development and bolstering business infrastructure and support, a discussion that lead perfectly to the 2023 comprehensive planning stages.
PHOTOS FROM FRIDAY’S PLANNING SESSIONS:
Clarke County business and development leaders joined together to discuss strategies for a future Comprehensive Development Plan.
Bill Ludwig of William J. Ludwig & Associates, Ltd. and Cory Scott, Urban Planner from RDG Planning & Design then took the floor to discuss the development of the area’s new comprehensive development plan. Working with CCDC, the City and, local businesses, the group will also be looking to gather input from more significant key stakeholders in the future of Clarke County and Osceola, Iowa – the community itself.
RDG has already embarked on the development of a Web site that will encourage community feedback and the sharing of ideas for future development of the area. A community retreat, planned for the spring of 2023 will also bring community members, local development leaders and business owners together for deeper discussions on how development strategies can address community and business needs. Finally, and more immediately, the group also put together displays that will be posted around Osceola for ongoing community feedback and suggestions. Currently, the displays are posted at City Hall and whomever would like to make a comment or post a suggestion can do so there.
“When everyone contributes to the vision, we can see a path that not only helps our area businesses grow, but brings our community together in a common goal.” said Osceola’s Mayor, Thomas Kedley. “These displays are meant to share ALL of our vision and build a community we can all be proud of.”
Past planning sessions like this have been at the heart of many exciting advances around the area. Just within the past few years, local development projects like the trails system and local workforce housing developments have helped in the area’s positive growth. Most significantly, planning in 2019 and 2020 lead to the recently approved $2-Million grant for Osceola’s Workforce Training Center, a project expected to kick off within the next few months. This center will be a magnet for businesses throughout south and central Iowa for training, innovation, and workforce development.
“Planning starts the process of making dreams come true,” said CCDC Executive Director, Bill Trickey.
A panel of development professionals including Karie Kading-Ramsey and Carrie Woederman from Kading Properties, Paula McClaflin from Stoney Oak Properties, Amber Rodgers from IEDA, Fred Dowie from Autumn Ridge (developer of the latest housing being constructed off Clay Street by the distillery), and more closed the morning with a session of questions and answers over current development trends, what they’re seeing as significant demands for future development and projected costs and opportunities for businesses and home buyers alike.
“We’re still seeing a huge demand for workforce housing,” said IEDA’s Amber Rogers. “Some Midwest businesses are willing to offer employees rent and subsidies to help maintain a quality workforce. With Clarke County’s manufacturing base, that can mean tremendous opportunities for development throughout the area.”
The day finished up with a group conversation around the development for Osceola’s Workforce Training Center as well as ideas around development and projections for strategies surrounding the Osceola square, the Saylor business park and more.
“We already have so much potential development opportunity right here,” said Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator. “I’m counting on the collaboration between community leadership, local business, and our community members to bring these opportunities to fruition.”