2012 was a year of promise in FF [UPDATED]Published 6:14am Monday, December 31, 2012 Updated 8:17am Monday, December 31, 2012
It’s that wonderful time of the year when we can look back at some of the highlights of 2012. Here we go.
Tower Road and Bridge
The long awaited Tower Road and Bridge project is operational after 30 years of planning, financing, and construction. It is an impressive example of federal, state, and local (city and county) collaboration and cooperation in our area. The “Round About,” of course, is the most talked about component of the project. The entire project is working very well and gives us important access to every part of our community (especially commerce and industry) and provides the most modern and safe traffic control that we have enjoyed in as many years.
Congratulations to all involved. We are becoming a more progressive and important regional center of business and commerce, and transportation.
Jobs and economic development
Credit the Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission (EIC), the City of Fergus Falls, Forward Fergus Falls, the Minnesota Angel Network (MNAN), local angel investors and other lenders, the West Central Initiative, several manufacturers and businesses for expanding job opportunities and creating new businesses in our community.
Consequently, unemployment is at the lowest level in many years and we are having to compete for a skilled work force to staff our expanding business and manufacturing sectors. We continue to look to M-State for our workforce training needs, in all sectors of our economy, now and in the future.
Go Float, an electric powered (green technology) water craft manufacturer is already manufacturing and distributing its products locally and to several other states as well. They have brought several jobs to Fergus Falls and have plans for more. An exceptional team effort was needed to make this happen. MNAN brought 16 emerging businesses to us throughout the year. As a result we have an opportunity to encourage future businesses to recover from the recession and compete with our progressive city and state neighbors.
We can now point with pride to being the Telework capital of Minnesota. Park Region Telephone, Otter Tail Telcom, the FFEIC , and our deed Employment service have brought employers and workers together through a Telework initiative that is attracting major employers who need an ever expanding work force. We are fortunate to have the technology and infrastructure needed for this opportunity.
Lake Region Healthcare (LRH), our nursing homes, assisted living, and other care facilities continue to provide more jobs than any other employment sector in our local economy.
The LRH Walk-In Clinic has become a preferred destination for hundreds of area residents in need of efficient and convenient health care services.
We appreciate their constant quest to meet our health care needs.
Forward Fergus Falls
I promised to mention some of non-economic Destiny Drivers and initiatives being sponsored by Forward Fergus Falls.
The Blandin Foundation has invited Fergus Falls Blandin graduates to participate in a study of issues related to economic opportunity in Greater Minnesota. Fergus Falls in one of four out state communities to be invited and sponsored.
The Center for Community Stewardship (Bemidji) has provided a one year commitment to help strengthen and sustain our community stewardship efforts.
Suffice it to say, “2012 was a very good year of positive progress and growth for Fergus Falls. We worked hard to be a “business friendly” community. Thanks to all for your efforts to make Fergus Falls a great place to live, Work, play, and prosper. We all look forward to 2013.
Best wishes for Peace, Hope, and Joy in the New Year.
Hal Leland is the Mayor of Fergus Falls.