November 5, 2008
Alan Vandehaar, Communities Specialist, ISU Extension and Town Craft Project director facilitating a discussion of small towns working together on regional economic development.
Local leaders from small towns throughout Dallas and adjoining counties were invited to attend a discussion on "Economic Development in OUR Town". The discussion was organized and facilitated by Vandehaar and Dave Swenson, ISU Economist. Swenson provided his expertise on regional development. The purpose was to better understand our local economies, the impact of the Des Moines metropolitan economy, and explore potential joint economic development efforts between towns. The discussion was attended by 25 local leaders from Granger, Adel, Perry, Dallas Center, Ogden, and Rippy.
Dave Swenson explained the changes that have taken place over the last 20-30 years
and emphasized that local economies are not what they once were. Swenson also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of interdependence and independence. Factors that Swenson says come into play when considering regional development include fiscal attributes, social capital and amenities that are unique to each town. Swenson charged leaders with considering the questions, how does your town fit in the Des Moines metro economic region, and do several towns working together fit better into the Des Moines economic region. The regional development meetings are ongoing.