Sep 2, 2016

Looking to Poynette’s economic future

Excerpted from Poynette Press

by Hannah Rajnicek

A group of approximately two dozen people, including local officials and business owners, gathered at Poynette’s village hall last week to attend a workshop on economic development.

Many took notes during the workshop presented by Michael Gay, senior vice president at the Madison Region Economic Partnership. The curriculum presented by Gay on Monday, Aug. 22, was developed by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association. Topics covered during the three-hour long workshop included the building blocks of economic development, business visits and relationship building.

Economic development in Poynette has been a topic at recent village board meetings and, according to village administrator Lisa Wilson, the completion of the workshop could help move the village forward into future plans.

“Poynette needed a momentum starter,” Wilson said. “I am optimistic that this was it and we can start to move forward from here. I think the information was well received. It demonstrated to our board, staff and business community that economic development is a very broad reaching topic with lots of moving parts and pieces to consider.”

Village president Diana Kaschinske had similar thoughts about the workshop as a starting point for Poynette.

“It seems so many times that we try to move forward and we end up in the same rut,” Kaschinske said. “I don’t want Poynette to grow at a rapid, unhealthy pace… But these guys have a reputation and they know what would be a business that would come to town and stay. That’s why we reached out to them, to get some ideas. The direction they gave us, it’s something that we could maybe follow in the future.”

When the presentation addressed creating a local development plan, Gay pointed out that in order to pursue more economic development, there has to be a launch point.

“Invest in a project that’s good for the community on many fronts,” Gay said. “Hold your leadership and staff accountable. Village boards change and you have to have a horizon.”

Throughout the workshop, Gay gave examples of nearby communities which succeeded at getting a project off the ground. One example came from DeForest, which recently welcomed a Little Potato Company processing and distribution facility into one of its industrial parks. Gay said the whole process happened in only a few months, with the help of tax credits from Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, which “are as good as grants.”

According to Wilson, the examples of communities similar sized or situated to Poynette could help create plans and goals.

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