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Saturday, August 21, 2010

Weekend Reading for Madison's LAIC Board

Hey, Dustin Williams! And Linda Salmonson, Mark Stoller, DeLon Mork, Jerry Johnson, Chris Giles, Karen Lembcke, Doug Knowlton, Jeff Bloom, Mike McDowell, and Floyd Rummel. Yeah, you. All of you. You're the board of directors of the Lake Area Improvement Corporation. You're supposed to be boosting economic development here in Madison and Lake County. Quit reading the boring reports Dwaine Chapel submits. If you want to know how to fix Madison (and that's our shared mission), here are some things you should be reading:
  1. Why Rural Communities Need Artists. Mike Knutson brings back some great lessons from the Midwest Rural Assembly. Among those lessons, Knutson points out the importance of the arts to economic development. Art isn't just a couple John Green prints hanging in the lobby. Art is the force that brings visionaries to town and keeps them here to help solve problems.
  2. Progressive on Purpose: The Levelland, Texas, Economic Development Corporation has a blog. Their executive director, Dave Quinn, uses it to post local news and photos. He communicates with the public. He invites comments. He takes negative feedback and responds to it in a way that invites more discussion. Dustin Linda, DeLon, et al., your executive director does not do that. Your executive director should.
  3. Economic development depends on government. LAIC board, how many of you are Republicans? How many of you are lapping Kristi Noem's talk about how government is too big? Read last night's paper, the story about Kevin Streff's success with Secure Banking Solutions. Highlight the sentences that remind us SBS got its start in the Heartland Technology Center, a project built on tax dollars. SBS's new facility is planned for the tax increment finance district created by the city to use tax dollars to cover the developer's infrastructure costs. Yesterday's MDL article reminds us that SBS has thrived in part thanks to grants from the National Science Foundation and the USDA. SBS's expansion and jobs are great for Madison... and they wouldn't exist if we ran our country according to the anti-government rhetoric of some of your favorite Republicans.
Happy reading! The Madville Times is happy to help.

1 comment:

  1. Art is a powerful tool, an amazing force of change, dialogue, and yes, development too. Madison, like many other rural communities, has an incredible opportunity to lead the way forward, to make something incredible happen, and to invest into the creative economy.

    Now, I realize that there are those who would question such a bold direction, but don't talk yourself, and your community, into a corner. The Arts may seem insignificant, small fish as some say, yet, they hold an ability to make communities thrive (just look at our neighbors in Hill City, or even Brookings too)

    Yet, there will always be those communities that continue on, ignoring the cultural revolution, and becoming even less relevant, and thus, falling behind in not only attracting, but retaining the creative and economic energy which makes communities thrive.

    We're all part of this energy, not only artists, but the patrons, the supporters, business leaders, and business owners, economic developers, and the teachers, the students, the presidents of boards, the blue collar, the white collar, we're all part of this bold concept. We all have a role to play. We all have the opportunity to make not only something, but anything, and everything happen.

    Art is indeed a powerful tool, a catalyst of change, growth, it's whatever we want it to be. Now, we have to decide how we make use of it, how we support it, how we nourish it, cultivate it, and make it part of the fabric of our community.


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