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State Economic Development Plan to Boost Local Efforts

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Article By:  Associated Press

South Dakota economic development officials say two programs aimed at attracting large projects to the state are ready to help local governments and non-profit development corporations.

The Economic Development Partnership Program offers grants to pay for new staff, elevate part-time staff, start or replenish local revolving loan funds, buy equipment or train employees to expand local economic development. The Local Infrastructure Improvement Grant Program provides grants to build or rebuild infrastructure to serve economic development projects.

The programs begin accepting applications on Monday, said Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg.

“It works to try to tie the state’s efforts a little more closely to the local efforts,” said Brown, who sponsored the legislation. “I certainly think that’s going to be a positive move forward.”

The local partnership programs are part of Building South Dakota, a comprehensive plan that focuses on education, housing and infrastructure to attract large and small projects to the state.

The Legislature kicked off the plan this year with $7 million. After that, it will be funded by a portion of the contractors’ excise tax collected on large projects and some of the unclaimed property that the state receives from abandoned bank accounts.

The plan technically took effect when it was signed by Gov. Dennis Daugaard in March, but a panel has been busy writing rules for the programs so the Board of Economic Development could begin accepting applications, said Pat Costello, commissioner of the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“In the next couple months we’re going to see a lot of activity with that as it kicks off,” Costello said. “Certainly it will take a while for that to gel. But we’re very fortunate and thankful to have that new economic development tool.”

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