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Bible, Edward / Annual overall economic development program report, 1996/1997
(October 1996)

Chapter IV: Potentials and constraints to economic development,   pp. [unnumbered]-40 PDF (3.6 MB)


Page 35

CHAPTER IV
POTENTIALS AND CONSTRAINTS TO ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
INTRODUCTION
Economic development potentials may be defined as those factors which give the area a
comparative advantage in economic pursuits, and which can be more fully capitalized upon. The
potentials include those achievable ideas which, if implemented, would place the region and its
communities in an advantageous position and increase its income, reduce its unemployment, and
generally enhance the well-being of its residents. A successful economic development effort is
broad-based in nature, and is directed toward long-range planning activities, as well as to more
near-term measures which are reactive to current opportunities.
Economic constraints are those factors which dictate a comparative disadvantage, and are
often considered beyond one's control to influence. These are sometimes referred to as
deficiencies in development potential.
The Commission's Overall Economic Development Program for Southwestern Wisconsin,
Planning Report No. 97, June 1993, last fully discussed those factors which are often cited as
potentials and constraints in the region. Also, descriptions of potentials and constraints for the
region have been included in various prior annual updates of the O.E.D.P. since 1987. This
chapter attempts to provide an update of the previous discussions, and to discuss some of the
more recent and noticeable problems and opportunities.
REGIONAL REVOLVING LOAN FUND (SWWBDF)
After many years of trying to implement a regional revolving loan fund in southwestern
Wisconsin, a fund that could respond to economic development needs in every county and in
every part of each county, we will soon have such a tool. Beginning in the Spring of 1997, the
regional RLF for flood recovery should have all of its funds circulating in low interest loans
helping businesses recover from the Midwest Flood of 1993. Generally, the target of these were
firms that need to relocate or need flood-proofing. At the present time of this writing, a total
of $180,000 (out of a total of $330,000 available) has been allocated for a re-locating business
in Darlington. It is our intent to identify other assistance we will provide to other firms very
shortly.
Many factors have slowed progress in obligating funds including: (1) the difficulty of a
targeted company to formulate plans and get them approved by a franchiser, (2) uncertainty about
the future and what to do, (3) environmental contamination of property on which sits a targeted
business, (4) a lack of federal and state grant funds to assist many businesses do necessary flood-
proofing, thereby "kicking in" other loan funds to do work not covered by grants, (5) a reluctance
or inability to take on additional debt in the wake of two major floods and other economic
considerations, (6) a lack of knowledge on the part of businesses about how the fund could help,
despite attempts to address this need, (7) the decision of the RLF loan administration board to
not finance a proposed project on the basis that it was deemed to be not economically viable, and
(8) probably other reasons. Efforts are being undertaken to enhance the marketing of the fund
to potential users. It is important that a plan for obligation of all the funds be developed.
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