The Superior Express -

Jewell County Community Development Association - 2020 Progress Report

 

January 28, 2021



The annual meeting of the Jewell County Community Development Association (JCCDA) was held on Jan. 12, 2021 via Zoom Video Confer- encing. The JCCDA board held a strategy meeting in 2020 to set goals for the organization and a community survey was sent out in conjunction with Strategic Doing work. Answers and goals from these two initiatives were targeted and progress was reported based on these goals.

Under the focus on parks and recreation, more trails, mammoth history development, signage and continued education on the impact of tourism around activities. Toward this goal, JCCDA worked on the development of mammoth education kiosks at Lovewell Lake, specifically aimed at getting people to come into Jewell County from the north and explore the historical museum and shop at local businesses.

Under the focus on clean up, land banks and higher taxes on empty buildings were targeted. Under this objective, JCCDA continued to work with communities on clean up and starting land banks. The City of Mankato has a land bank established and Jewell, Esbon and Formoso are working toward getting one. Coordinator Russell attended a land bank information meeting in Stafford, Kan., to see what creative ways this tool can be used for solving problems in communities.

For the focus on community identity, goals were to create a food, keep searching for identity, county-wide mammoth statues like the Lindsborg Dala Horses and education about the mammoth dig site through kiosks at Lovewell Lake. Lastly under the focus on wellness, the groups goal was to help the private sector develop a wellness center and help the county to find their identity around elder care-rehab.

From the communities’ stand point, for good things about quality of life Jewell County is a safe place to live, a good place for children and a good place to retire. Things that could be improved were, increased economic opportunity and expanding-strengthening health care.

The biggest aspirations residents had for Jewell County included increased opportunities for young people, growth retirees, industry-diversification of jobs, keeping the hospital and school open, clean up of the county and youth retention. To this end, JCCDA worked to expand knowledge of the Rural and Remote program (https://ruralandremote.org/) that helps to get people who want to live in Jewell County acquainted with on-line jobs they can obtain to meet this goal. Rural and Remote helps to meet many of the community goals including opportunities for young people, options for retirees and industry-diversification of jobs. JCCDA-Growing Jewell County has been instrumental with the Youth Entrepreneurship Fair at Rock Hills High School, Rural Opportunity Zone (ROZ program) which helps provide up to $15,000 to pay off student loans for people who want to move to the county, and the Dane G. Hansen Internship Program. All of these programs help to fulfill the goals of job creations and new business start ups.

Lastly, Jewell County Community Development promoted the 2020 Census, conducted the New City Council-Commission-Board Training, and helped to raise more than $125,000 with the Jewell County Community Foundation. The organization helped to obtain $132,000 in SPARK grant funding to offset COVID losses for 10 Jewell County businesses. The Kansas Department of Commerce was seeking leaders in DronePort Development and the organization worked to make Jewell County a leader in this area.

Jewell County Community Development brought more than $269,000 back to the county and had a 6.25 time return on investment.

 

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