Every community is so vastly different from each other community. That’s fairly obvious however it provides a huge challenge for site selectors, businesses and economic development organizations. Within thirty miles of us there are four very different yet similarly sized communities that all do economic development work different.
Our chamber, economic development organization, young professional group and leadership programming are all under one umbrella. If we are chosen as the entry point by a site selector of business, that makes life a little simpler in the process. The first step we do is bring in other resources to help with the process. We have worked hard to build trusting relationships with the municipalities, education and business community. This pays off when we can collaborate within our ecosystem.
of the key starting points for a site selector is the economic data about a community. There are certain benchmarks that must be achieved for a community to rise to the top of the list, or more correctly get removed from the list of consideration. I understand the need for data with the vast variety of communities looking to grow. What data doesn’t reveal is what we have to offer in terms of work ethic and enthusiasm. So, while we may never get a Red Lobster due to the data, there is a great deal of economic development activity in our community. Building on that, we have the largest certified site in the state of over 700 acres and other smaller options around the community.
When site selectors do choose an area to do more research, how they are received by that community is important. While we certainly are competitive amongst the different municipalities here, the greater good of the larger community is what we all seek. Our governmental units work well with the state. Our chamber (us) works well with government. Our entrepreneurial ecosystem appreciates the benefit of a diverse business community. The business community understands the importance of a quality education system. And we are all willing to sit at the same table to solve challenges and engage businesses.
Sometimes the process begins without the site selectors. Our visitors and travelers appreciate the community in which we live and work. With our new talent attraction website, businesses and potential employees can do more research at everythingpointshere.com. The technical site selector data can be found at portagecountybiz.com. Our convention and visitors bureau continues to break records for attracting folks to the area. That bodes well for our businesses and employees and is a welcome indicator for site selectors beyond the data.
Quality of life is now an overused but critical term. It is Overused in the sense that everyone brags about their quality of life but in the sense employee attraction and retention is such an important element for businesses considering an area. One aspect is our educations system. We have several public and private choices for birth to 12th grade. There is both a technical college (mstc.edu) and four-year institution (uwsp.edu) here. We have a 26-mile recreation trail with several spurs. The Wisconsin River and many other lakes and rivers abound. There are several sources for live entertainment, shopping, eating and all of the other amenities. Professional and major college sports teams are all within a short drive. The cost of living is affordable and and below the national average. You can count the time it takes to get downtown on one or two hands.
Riverside University Health System Medical Center (headquarters for Riverside County’s hospital system, based here in Moreno Valley) and Kaiser Permanente are both expanding their facilities to meet strong regional demand. Residential construction is adding additional new housing opportunities with nearly 7,000 single and multi-family units under construction or in the development process.
All of these factors play into our ecosystem. When you dig beneath the data you will be impressed. We are not a major metropolitan area and we are proud of that. We enjoy the four seasons and are proud of that. We are where economic vitality meets quality of life.