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EDC reviews successful year

New Richmond's Economic Development Commission gathered for its annual breakfast meeting Thursday, Aug. 15, to look back over the past 12 months and look forward to 2014.

To kick off the morning, the commission members were the first to catch a sneak peek of the soon-to-be-completed video to promote New Richmond.

All in attendance had nothing but great things to say about the five-minute video, which featured various scenes of the community and interviews with numerous people talking about the great things that the city has to offer.

The video, which is being produced by Josh and Signe Shores with dandyLION Pictures. Both are New Richmond High School graduates.

"Josh and Signe did an amazing job putting this together," said Mike Darrow, city administrator. "It validates the community."

"I think it's well done," said commission member John Soderberg.

Commission member Scott Jones said he thinks New Richmond is the first community in St. Croix County to tackle such a video project and it shows that the city is being progressive.

The video will be formally screened and approved by the New Richmond City Council at its Sept. 9 meeting. The video will then be posted on the city website, and sent to business prospects and those looking to possibly move to New Richmond.

Darrow said the video will also be made available to organizations such as the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce and the school district to post it on their websites if they so desire.

The video is just one of a long list of accomplishments the EDC enjoyed during the past year, Darrow pointed out.

Among other positives steps taken were the following:

-- Marketing report and implementation.

-- One-call, two-clicks campaign.

-- Outreach efforts to visit with all 350 businesses in the city during the year. (Darrow said he and Beth Thompson, community development director, have visited with about 300 businesses so far.)

-- A focused and coordinated effort during the sale of the St. Croix County land.

-- Exploration of new business opportunities and existing business expansions.

-- Sale of the WeTEC building to a private business owner.

-- Launch of a Facebook page and Twitter account for the city.

Heading into another year, Darrow said the city staff hopes to continue developing collaborative relationships so that more can be accomplished with a minimum of impact on taxpayers.

He also said the staff if working hard to "make things easy" when business prospects or existing businesses come to the city with plans to build, remodel or expand.

Thompson said the goal is for businesses, developers or others to deal with just one city employee all the way through the planning and construction process. That employee, she explains, researches each question and reports back to the prospect.

Jeff Holmquist
Jeff Holmquist has been managing editor of the New Richmond News since 2004. He holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and business administration from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has previously worked as editor in Wadena, Minn.; Detroit Lakes, Minn.; Hutchinson, Minn.; and Bloomington, Minn. He also was previously owner of the Osceola Sun, Stillwater Courier and Scandia Messenger along with his wife. Together they previously founded and published The Old Times newspaper for antiques and collectibles collectors; and Up!, a Christian magazine of hope and encouragement.
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