Marshall County Partnership For Growth held their annual meeting in Marysville Thursday evening. Chairman Rob Peschel welcomed members, highlighting the group’s recent close on an eleven acre parcel just east of Marysville that’s to be developed as a business park. Noting that goal had been several years in the works, Peschel then introduced an update from a steering committee charged with exploring options for moving forward with developing a plan to fund and sustain a full time economic development office in the county. Phil Osborne reported that the committee had met several times and had unanimously agreed that a full time economic development director was essential for this area to remain competitive economically. Public/private funding options are being explored, as well as a specific annual budget target.
Sara Kessinger highlighted ideas generated as that committee had recently hosted Jeff Hofaker, Director of the Phillips County Economic Development Office. Marshall County has been without an economic development director since the resignation of George McCune in 2013. Several in attendance pointed to the new wind farm being established in the northeast part of the county, construction of the senior housing duplexes in Marysville along with a housing study, efforts that retained a number of jobs, along with keeping the S.R.S. office in Marysville open, establishment of the Partnership For Growth, and the business park land acquisition were among major accomplishments in recent years.
Lyle Thompson with the Kansas Department of Commerce, and Doug McKinney with North Central Regional Planning were also in attendance, and supported members efforts to move forward, noting that most Kansas counties have active economic development offices, and that efforts to retain and expand existing businesses, provide jobs and sufficient housing, attract and retain young people, expand the local tax base, and support communities are critical to survival in a competitive environment.