A Look Back at 2010: Rural and Regional Happenings
The seventh in our series of articles highlighting the remarks of GREDF Board Chairperson, Connie Schroeder at our 2011 Annual Meeting.
The Rural Adams Development Corporation celebrated 10 years in 2010 of operating a low-interest, revolving loan fund designed to finance projects that will create and retain jobs in rural Adams County. The non-profit organization formed with the help of GREDF and includes seven rural banks. Since 1990, R.A.D.C. has provided 61 loans totaling nearly $2 million dollars. Communities that have been impacted include Camp Point, Clayton, Golden, Liberty, Mendon, Payson and Ursa to name a few.
We’re pleased to share that the R.A.D.C. has never administered a loan that has defaulted and GREDF’s own loan program has a nearly perfect record.
Someone who knows a lot about rural Adams County communities is Adams County Highway Engineer Dick Klusmeyer who put down his ruler in May after 39 years with the Highway Department, 26 of those leading its operations. Dick has been instrumental in bringing infrastructure improvements to the South Quincy Development District which led to millions of dollars in private investment and hundreds of jobs. He was also responsible for launching the award-winning Adams County G.I.S. program. We’re pleased that Dick is one of those guys who never completely stops working. He currently sits on the GREDF board and remains a staunch advocate of the Mid-America Port. Dick, thank you for your vision, service and continued support.
C&L Tiling’s purchase of the former Methode plant in Golden has turned into one of the most notable good-news stories of rural Adams County in 2010. The company has experienced tremendous growth in the past couple of years necessitating their expansion into the former plant. The move allowed them to add new production capacity to their Timewell facility by moving non-production functions to Golden including their trucking and ADI installation headquarters. They also relocated their Fittings Fabrication operations from their Michigan plant to the facility. Forty employees operate out of Golden and the company has tentative plans to add another building to the site. They also lease space to Dot Foods and Jansen Seed Company.
Big River Fish in Pearl is at the beginning stages of developing an export market to China for Asian Carp. During the last month they shipped 30 to 40 thousand-pound containers of frozen fish. Our Charles Bell assisted the company in navigating the Chinese market. Charles has traveled to China on behalf of GREDF to research export opportunities. Plans are underway for Big River Fish to open a second processing plant in Griggsville.
Midwest Crop Insurance Service, one of the nation’s largest general agencies in the Federal Crop Insurance industry, officially merged into AgriLogic Insurance Service. Their Camp Point headquarters will serve as the new A.L.I.S. Midwestern Regional Service Center. We assisted Midwest Crop Insurance with financing for the expansion that will eventually lead to over 18 new employees in Camp Point. Charles Bell also helped the company develop their international business, providing contacts and separately helping one of the owners develop an export market for a food product they plan to package locally.
A valued partner in small business development is retiring at the end of month after serving the region for 20 years. Dan Voorhis, director of the Small Business Development Center at Western Illinois University has helped hundreds of small businesses in a 12-county region develop business plans for start ups and expansions. Thank you, Dan for your friendship and service.
Ursa Farmers Cooperative celebrated 90 years in August. Over 800 partners and friends attended the annual meeting celebration. The Co-op is looking at building a new grain elevator in Canton, Missouri which is directly across the river from its Meyer facility. Between 500 to 600 of the cooperative’s 2400 members live on the Missouri side of the Mississippi River and a new elevator would help to better serve these individuals.
Tri-State Development Summit coordinator Shelby Crow has given us permission to announce tonight that the 2011 Summit will be held October 5th in this very building in the Quincy Community Theater. 2011 marks the 15th year of bringing together tri-state leaders to define common issues, to develop on-going dialogues to address those issues and to improve the quality of life of the entire tri-state region.
2010 Summit activities saw a continuation of the theme of entrepreneurship from the 2009 Summit in Fairfield, Iowa. The entrepreneurship task force held a series of workshops for entrepreneurs in all three states. Highway and river infrastructure improvements continue to remain at the top of the Summit priority list and much progress has been made.
Significant validation for the role of the Summit came in the form of census data revealing the potential loss of one seat each in the U.S. House of Representatives for Illinois, Iowa and Missouri. Now more than ever the Summit’s 35 counties must stand together to keep our political leaders aware of the issues our communities and region face.