Union County Development Association (UCDA) has unvield a new three-year plan after accomplishing the goals set out in its 2016-18 plan.
“This plan is really driven by the input we get from our business community and the community as a whole,” said Wayne Pantini, UCDA executive director.
UCDA works within four areas: Grow UC (business development), Discover UC (creative placemaking), Home UC (housing development) and Work UC (workforce development).
Each has committee is made up of board members and community members, who Pantini said has a passion for that type of work.
When it comes to investment dollars, UCDA has been part of the development of the James subdivision, Elm St. corridor project and various properties.
“We actually have been able to get it to where, annually, our governmental entities, we generate new tax revenue for them,” said Pantini.
To date, the UCDA has generated $382,908.
“That’s annually that they get that return on investment of new tax dollars generated to provide services for the area,” said Pantini.
“We have been able to put some strong leadership programs together,” said Pantini.
In the past year UCDA has graduated 16 students from the Lead UC Youth program which is a leadership program for students in ninth through twelfth grade.
Last year, the UCDA also hosted the “Made in UC” event where local eighth-grade students were able to see products manufactured in Union County by a variety of companies.
UCDA had its first Homebase Iowa veteran in 2018 and hosted a career expo with more than 30 employers participating.
As part of a corridor improvement project, the UCDA built and sold a house on S. Elm St. Currently, the UCDA is building a house in Afton, which is in partnership with the City of Afton and Southwestern Community College’s carpentry and electrical trades program.
“We continue to try to work to bring developers to the community to meet our housing needs,” said Pantini.
“One thing, I think is important that most people don’t understand is how our organization is funded. We are a private non-profit organization. We receive funds … from about four different areas,” said Pantini.
UCDA received funding from public funding, private investors, program revenue, and “other” such as property and grant funds.
UCDA moved into its new location last year which they call Building 301.
“We are in the process of putting apartments, two apartments available up there, that will be targeted towards our industries to use for executive kind of style apartments and then lower, possibly interns that are here throughout the year,” said Pantini.
Pantini said they hope to have the apartments completed by March 1.
UCDA has been involved in the Healthy Hometown Initiative which has included some public meetings and is aimed at making the community more walkable. Pantini said they are working on updates on the streetscape of the community.
UCDA provides a variety of business development services.
“We consult with start-up companies, existing businesses, and also send out project proposals for business recruitment,” said Pantini.
In the past year, UCDA has worked on 49 projects, retained 10 jobs, created 59 new jobs and were a part of $42.1 million on capital investments.
For more information about the UCDA and to view its strategic plan, visit unioncountyiowa.com.