- Boost university research.
- Market the region.
Now don't let Dwaine Chapel get on the committee working on #2: he'll put up banners all along I-29. RTS proposes at least creating a website to advertise our South Dakota's urbane East Coast. But continuing the conversation about community branding, Mike Knutson reminds us that advertising is the price we pay for being unoriginal. Create a vibrant culture, strengthen your education system, and energize your local economies, and those advantages will market themselves.
Think of it this way: if you have $200,000, you could hire a scientist and buy a regional ad campaign, or you could hire two scientists. Which do you think will do more concrete good for the community, or in this case, the Corridor?
Down at the south end of the I-29 Corridor, Rebecca Terk is engaging her readers in a substantial discussion of local economic development in Vermillion. She notes with some chagrin that the community's current economic development campaign, Vermillion NOW!, is marked by the same sort of pay-to-play strategy that dictates the Forward Madison campaign: you buy your way into the decision-making process with donations. If economic development groups really want to succeed, they should involve more community members in ways that don't hinge on money. There are lots of community members, from Vermillion and Madison to Sioux Falls, Brookings, and Watertown, who don't have deep pockets but do have deep ideas, not to mention time and sweat they'd be willing to contribute.
The best community development involves everyone in the community, not just the folks with money.