Western Iowa Advantage’s Annual Report and Dinner Showcase over $74M in Successes and Collaborative Efforts

Western Iowa Advantage’s Annual Report and Dinner Showcase over $74M in Successes and Collaborative Efforts Main Photo

4 May 2023


Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD) partners and stakeholders gathered in Odebolt, IA. for the 2023 Annual Dinner to learn about the WIAD-assisted projects and success stories from around the region featured in the Western Iowa Advantage Annual Report 2021–2022. With an emphasis on collaboration and networking, WIAD assists through the pooled resources, infrastructure, innovation, and intellect of Audubon, Calhoun, Carroll, Crawford, Greene, Ida, and Sac Counties. In 2022, that translated into over $74 million in investments and over 240 jobs created.

Danna Larson, an Empower Rural Iowa Task Force member and founder of the Odebolt Community Foundation, was the keynote speaker: “Small Town Mindset - Casting vision, raising our kids to stay, and not settling.” Founder of the podcast Rural Revival, Larson shared that vision is a crucial feature of thriving towns. That vision creates an inviting atmosphere attractive to young people and families.

“The presentation gave great examples of what communities can do to create change and how to make youth feel appreciated and that they are wanted back,” said Brandy Wilson, Executive Director of Sac Economic & Tourism Development. “Western Iowa is full of opportunity. We have beautiful and safe communities that are great to raise a family in, amazing businesses that provide our citizens with a good quality of life, and opportunities for entrepreneurs to start their businesses where they were raised. Our citizens and youth are valued greatly here.”

Western Iowa Advantage (WIAD) works to create and maintain the quality of place and business-friendly climate that makes people want to come back home and put down roots. WIAD partners address workforce, housing, childcare, quality of life, and community development initiatives while promoting regional growth and sustainability.

“I believe all of our counties have a vision for what we can achieve and how we see our communities could look in the future,” said Wilson. “Collectively, our region knows that when we combine the knowledge and talents each of us has, we are able to follow that vision and accomplish our goals.”

Western Iowa Advantage Annual Report 2021–2022

Business and community successes are built on the foundations of Western Iowa partnerships between Audubon County Economic Development Corp., Calhoun County Economic Development Corp., Carroll County Growth Partnership, Chamber & Development Council of Crawford County, Greene County Development Corp., Ida County Economic Development Corp., Sac Economic & Tourism Development, Region XII Development Corp., Alliant Energy, MidAmerican Energy, Raccoon Valley Electric Cooperative, and Midland Power Cooperative.

Annual Report TakeAways

Details about individual projects can be found in the Western Iowa Advantage Annual Report 2021–2022. WIAD continues celebrating successes throughout the year with Business Spotlight articles on the website.

Industrial Development

Business retention and expansion was the overarching theme. At least five expansions were undertaken, ranging from manufacturing and soybean storage to rail expansion and a distillery. In Sac County, 90 acres were purchased for a planned industrial park.

Retail Development

Indications of a thriving community were apparent in the variety of new retail businesses launched. These included a restaurant, realty office, hardware store, health and wellness shops, grocery, and more. One hardware store completed an expansion, and a bank moved into a new building. Ida County alone had 20 new business starts. 

Housing Development

The need for affordable workforce housing is a nationwide issue, and WIAD is working for continuing solutions. In Denison, a $1.9 million development is underway, with seven units planned, one under construction, and one completed. 

The City of Sac acquired property and initiated working with an engineer to develop a new 14-lot housing development area, with construction slated to begin in early 2024.

Community Development

A healthy economy hinges on a robust community with a desirable quality of life and place. One expanding need is quality childcare, and 2022 saw the addition and expansion of two such businesses. 

The Audobon REC Center and the Littlefield Recreation Area were expanded. Audubon Middle and High School saw a $10 million renovation investment. An animal shelter also opened. 

The Iowa Economic Development Authority awarded Holstein a Catalyst Grant to help redevelop or rehabilitate underused buildings to stimulate economic growth and reinvestment in the community. Ida Grove has undertaken a mural project to welcome visitors.

Western Iowa Advantage

WIAD assists with location searches, permits, financial/tax incentive programs, utilities, workforce demographics, job-training programs, and more. WIAD is ready to take on 2023, removing barriers to growth and supporting education, businesses, and industry while tackling workforce attraction and housing. We are committed to facilitating ongoing improvements in our region’s economy, quality of life, and tourism. Contact us today at 712.792.9914 or info@westerniowaadvantage.com! Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn.