The Future of Your City | Part 6 of 9
Thank you for tuning in today.
The City of Manitowoc’s main priority under my administration is Economic Development. This includes working with current businesses, aggressively seeking grant dollars for growth throughout our community, looking for new business opportunities, and an open line of communication with City Hall for our businesses.
I think this is a turning point in the city for economic development and growth. I truly believe we have a bullish economy and we have many opportunities for growth. We’ve spent the past 100 years focused on Mirro and the Manitowoc Company – and solely on manufacturing. Now is a perfect opportunity to shift our focus to the many local businesses we have that are doing very well, and new industries, like health care.
Forefront Dermatology anticipates adding 300 jobs in Manitowoc over the next 5 years.
Skana Aluminum continues to do well and is planning major investments into their facility in the near future. This has been a huge success story since I was first elected in 2009. A few days after Anheuser Busch announced they were closing down, I met with the owner of Skana who wanted to purchase the old Koenig and Vits plant and start the rolling mill back up. Today, they have 150 employees (double what koenig and vits had) they start positions at a minimum of $15/hour.
Tramontana just purchased the old Orion manufacturing plant and will be announcing great news over the next few weeks.
R2H is building a facility in the Industrial Park at this very moment. They plan on creating 25 jobs.
Kaysun added 30 jobs throughout the last year.
Federal Mogul has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into their facilities and plans to continue that growth and add jobs.
Tender Reflections just opened in Manitowoc with 30 skilled nursing jobs.
Orion continues to have positive outlooks for growth and just announced 30 new jobs.
Broadwind Towers continues to receive major contracts for work, and just recently announced it has booked more than $250 million in tower orders so far this year, as the wind energy sector invests heavily in new projects.
Northern Labs has billboards all around the city looking for people to hire.
Kerry just announced this week that they have purchased the former Foster Needle facility and plan to expand and grow their business in Manitowoc.
When first elected, I made a conscious effort to visit as many local businesses as possible. I continue to do this with every opportunity I get. From this came the Annual Mayor’s Business Roundtable that typically gets 100 people/businesses in attendance. This is an opportunity for City Hall to come to you. I require each Department Head to attend so business leaders can speak directly to my staff.
In 2015 we created the Community Development Department (formerly Planning Department) and hired Nic Sparacio to lead our efforts on economic development for the city. If you talk to any business owner they will tell you that Nic is open to listening to their concerns and aggressively finds ways to help.
Throughout the years it has been my goal to find synergies amongst the various groups we have that deal with economic development. Most notably the Chamber, Progress Lakeshore, and the Manitowoc Area Visitor and Convention Bureau. These conversations continue and I look forward to making a concerted effort to join forces under one brand for our community.
The Mid-Cities Mall and former Elks Club site has great potential for growth and development. We are currently working on a site plan for the entire area which will be announced in 2017. My staff and I meet regularly with the owners of all these properties.
MPU water and electric rates have decreased since I was first elected in 2009. This is one of our greatest assets and a huge perk for businesses to locate here.
In 2013 we created a policy to allow land to be sold in the industrial park for free if a business locates there and creates X number of jobs. A few businesses have already taken advantage of this program.
The city has an excellent record of providing low interest revolving loan funds to businesses for growth. There are many businesses that have taken advantage of this already.
Finally, we have aggressively sought Federal and State grants over the past 8 years and we continue to look for additional areas to find grant funding to offset local costs. Just last year we received $2 million in Harbor Assistance dollars for the Carferry dock replacement. $1 million EPA revolving loan fund grant. $250,000 for the Schuette Building. $113,000 from WEDC for Mirro assessment work. $800,000 in EPA assessment grants. $700,000 in principal forgiveness for upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Facility, and $3 million for sheetwall in the Manitowoc River.
Economic Development is our top priority and these are just a few examples of businesses that are investing in Manitowoc, and areas that local government is assisting.
Until next week, Thank you.