Insight on Business

November 2015

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w w w . i n s i g h t o n b u s i n e s s . c o m N o v e m b e r 2 0 15 • I NSIGH T | 35 I N S I G H T O N E C O N O M I C D E V E L O P M E N T B y S e a n P. J o h n s o n E verything looks great from the lake, and Dane Checolinski knows it. e director of the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corp. doesn't hesitate to leverage Lake Michigan when he wants to showcase his community to prospective developers and entrepreneurs. Clear skies, a gentle swell and shimmering blue water definitely make a good impression. "I'm not sure you could find a more effective way to show the available sites," says omas Goode, a commercial construction project manager with S.C. Swiderski of Mosinee. Goode shared his observation during an astutely-timed waterfront tour offered to developers and site selectors participating in a late- summer familiarization tour of the economic development opportunities in Sheboygan and Sheboygan County. e harbor tour followed lunch at the Sheboygan Yacht Club — both definitely made a good impression. e tour fulfilled a tactical mission as well. Sheboygan has several sites available along its riverfront. What better way to show how any potential building would fit into a growing, walkable, mixed-use development area than to show it from the water? e late-summer "fam tour" was one of several conducted by economic developers in Sheboygan Selling Sheboygan From the waterfront to its far west side, Sheboygan rolls out the red carpet to entice entrepreneurs and developers P H O T O B Y S E A N P. J O H N S O N [continued ] » County this past year to provide an intimate look at opportunities within its communities. In addition to the waterfront tour, site selectors and developers were also treated to meetings with the CEOs of major companies, a presentation from a small business owner, a trolley tour of inland development sites and stops at a few of the city's unique entertainment venues. Social and fun, for sure, but sparking serious development discussions remained a mission- critical component of the day's activities. "We've got a $6.1 billion economy here in Sheboygan County," Checolinski says. "We need to add housing, retail and modern industrial space to keep moving ahead." Sheboygan County has seen a rapid resurgence in its local economy since the dark depths of the Great Recession. e county's unemployment rate has fallen to 3.1 percent, third lowest in the state, according to the latest data issued by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. It was more than 11 percent in February 2010. County employers have added more than 4,000 jobs — and nearly $200 million in added payroll — in the past four years. "We've got great assets to work with," Checolinski says. The city of Sheboygan has encouraged walkable, mixed-use development in the riverfront area such as restaurants, retail and condominiums.

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