Column: City wants development ideas
Should Rosemount have more well-paying jobs? Should we be adding more commercial and industrial tax value to the community? Most residents would say "Yes," with perhaps a caveat that traffic and other possible impacts must be manageable.
So, are we doing everything we can to create the right conditions for business growth? A lot of things are underway now. The City, working primarily through its economic development arm, the Rosemount Port Authority, has worked on many initiatives recently. This month we completed the cleanup of the Genz-Ryan site to prepare it to go on the market. We have completed studies of the needs for senior housing and a hotel in the City. We are reviewing financial incentives for development in Rosemount, and we are talking with firms interested in the "shovel ready" designation earned for the Business Park. We are moving ahead with plans for a transit Park and Ride. We are making contacts through a variety of organizations, ranging from our local business council, to the new metro area economic development initiative, to state-level efforts like Positively Minnesota and on to trade groups for retail and commercial developers. And we have extended development of Akron Avenue and are working on the same for Connemara Trail.
We're looking at partnerships that could bring a branch of the Y to the community. And we've updated our zoning and sign ordinances.
Despite these and other initiatives and strategies, we realize we might be missing at least one important thing: the involvement of our citizens. More than 11,000 of our residents are employed, some in Rosemount but others in neighboring communities or the core cities.
Recently, one of our residents let us know about a business that may be looking for a place to expand. How many more residents have heard or seen similar information and didn't know how to act on it or whom to call? Or perhaps they didn't really consider that the contacts they have could help their hometown.
There is an analogy here with community policing. Rosemount has a couple of dozen well-trained police officers, but they can't be everywhere. They rely on citizens to report suspicious behavior and other important tips to help keep our crime down.
Economic development is similar in that we can be much more effective by using residents as our eyes and ears to give us leads. While this is not a brand-new concept, most cities have not been intentional enough in asking residents for help. On April 19, we held a special Port Authority meeting and specifically invited residents to attend and help us review what we are doing and how we might want to change or add to our economic development initiatives. This was a good beginning.
But what more can we do? What more can you do? In the weeks and months ahead, if you hear something that might lead to a good opportunity for business expansion in Rosemount, call or email us. Our lead contact person is Kim Lindquist at 651-322-2020 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for your help in creating new jobs and tax base in our hometown.