The success of securing Wild Rose Casino in Jefferson highlighted the 2014 year of Midwest Partnership Economic Development. The annual meeting of the four-county organization was held Thursday, Jan. 22, at the Lake Panorama Conference Center in Panora.
Sarah Gomez, executive director of MWP, reported another prolific year which included the casino construction in Greene County along with the Guthrie Center Main Street and Whiterock Conservancy trail construction in Guthrie County; AMVC new facility and growth of Quality Machine in Audubon County; and additional construction/expansion in Greene County including Hy-Vee in Jefferson, Scranton Manufacturing /New Way, Bauer Built in Paton selling to John Deere and the growth of Vaughn Bauer’s new business.
Greene County was also named as the first Home Base Iowa Community in the state.
A focus of MWP will continue on entrepreneurs thanks in part to a five-year grant from the University of Northern Iowa to promote and maintain entrepreneurs in the area. The EntreBash mini-conference is scheduled in Jefferson on March 31. An empty building tour is planned in Jefferson in mid-April.
MWP president Warren Varley of Stuart conducted the meeting. Treasurer John Rutledge of Panora gave the financial report, noting a change in personnel resulted in smaller than expected expenditures in the budget.
Rich and Reagan Osborne, owners of Greene Bean Coffee in Jefferson, were presented with the Entrepreneur of the Year award. (See previous post in GreeneCountyNewsOnline)
The Guy Powell Award was presented to Dr Scott Smith for the leadership, impact, vision and courage displayed in establishing the New Century Art Guild in Kimballton.
The featured speaker was Tom Timmons of Wild Rose Entertainment. He recalled the history of gaming and that of Wild Rose with two sites in operation at Emmetsburg and Clinton. Construction is underway in Jefferson with an August 1 completion date still in the forecast.
Timmons highlighted the successful three-to-two vote of the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission last June and explained that five percent of the adjusted gross gaming revenue (before any winnings are paid to betters) will be paid out by Grow Greene County Gaming Corporation for charitable distribution. The exact amount of funds to be distributed is just a projection but is estimated at $1.2 – $1.5 million per year. Four percent will remain in Greene County with the remaining one percent available for distribution in the contiguous counties.
He noted that hundreds of vendors, subcontractors and suppliers are at work now in Jefferson on the facility with many workers living within 20 minutes of Jefferson. Timmons complimented the people of Greene County for their efforts.
“It is the people and the support of the community,” said Timmons in regards to Wild Rose’s decision to pursue the casino there.
A job fair is expected in April. The casino cost is estimated at $40 million while the hotel to be built is projected at $4 – $5 million. There will be about 250 people employed with an annual payroll of $6.5 – $7 million. An estimated $31 million is projected in gaming revenues from the site through 520 slot machines and 14 table games.
The convention center will be large enough for 480 people at a sit-down banquet or 900 – 950 for a concert.
When Timmons opened the floor to questions, Reagan Osborne asked, “What kind of coffee will you serve?” which elicited laughter from the crowd.
The Midwest Partnership Corporation board of directors includes:
Greene County: Norm Fandel, Midland Power Cooperative, Jefferson; Rick Morain, Jefferson; Sid Jones and Amy Milligan, Home State Bank, Jefferson; Angie Pedersen, RVP~1875, Jefferson; Kyle Orris, Hoyt Law Firm, Jefferson; and Lisa Jaskey, Lisa Nielsen CPA, Jefferson.
Guthrie County: Mike Carey, Farmers State Bank, Yale; Mike Underwood, Guthrie County State Bank, Guthrie Center / Panora; Warren Varley, Varley Law Firm, Stuart; Cheryl Marks, Rolling Hills Trust and Savings Bank, Stuart; Eric Tiernan, Town and Country Insurance, Stuart; Everett Grasty, Guthrie County supervisor; Gary Haverman, Bayard mayor; and John Rutledge, Lake Panorama Association.
Adair County: Matt Wedemeyer, Casey, Adair County supervisor; Scott Tonderum, Greenfield Municipal Utilities; Stacie Hull, Greenfield Chamber / Main Street; and Doug Burns, Adair County Free Press, Greenfield.
Audubon County: Peggy Toft, Spartan Insurance, Exira; Todd Nelson, Audubon County supervisor; Troy Wessel, Landmands Bank, Audubon; Brett Irlmeier, Audubon State Bank; Jason Hocker, AMVC, Audubon; and Lyle Hansen Jr, Southwest Iowa Real Estate Company, Audubon.
Board members retiring from the board in 2014 were Duane Armstead, Meryln Brown, Thomas Nielsen, Michael Cooley, Robert Williamson, Julie Harter and Tyson Brandt. ~The Scranton Journal