Howard County Economic Development Council (HCEDC) held its annual meeting Tuesday, Jan. 8 during a luncheon on the campus of Central Methodist University in Fayette. Through this annual meeting, HCEDC is able to communicate with its investors and other interested individuals, agencies, and businesses with a stake in the economic future of Howard County.
Interim President Michael Bugalski and Ryan Eidson from MAEDC were among those presenting. They provided updates on MAEDC projects and plans and outlined all services available to current employers in Howard County.
“Howard County has a dozen active projects,” said Bugalski. The local hotel project, as he refers to it, is now one step closer to financial investment. Bugalski calls this a catalyst project for Fayette.
Fayette was the “Number One” city in Missouri receiving Connect America Funds. The $11.3 million received will assist with expanding broadband in Howard County.
The partnership of HCEDC and MAEDC brings training to Howard County. Leadership Northeast is a new program to bridge the gap between current and future leaders. It is a 12-session program designed to provide training and exposure to potential future leaders. Small Business Counseling is also providing training sessions for small businesses. Trainings are held monthly in Glasgow and Fayette.
One of the projects HCECD and MAEDC will continue working on is a Community Based Fitness Facility. Working with a local entrepreneur, a survey will be distributed to gauge interest and gather information.
J.B. Waggoner is the Howard County representative of the MAEDC board and spoke at Tuesday’s luncheon. He noted that he and his company have been supportive of this economic develop partnership from the beginning. He believes Howard County has the potential for growth and it needs support.
HCEDC Chair Amber Overfelt provided a brief history of the HCEDC and how it progressed to where it is. In 2007, the cities of Fayette, Glasgow, New Franklin, and Armstrong, along with area businesses formed a partnership for economic development for the county. It was decided that an individual or entity making an annual donation of $5,000 would have a voting seat on the board. This is still the case. Howard County once had its own Economic Developer, but it was determined that one individual with the budget provided, was not a match on a national or even statewide basis for new businesses. Overfelt reminded attendees the HCEDC’s $80,000 annual investment with the Moberly Area Economic Development Corporation (MAEDC) provides Howard County access to a fully staffed office of economic developers, and an annual economic development budget of more than $400,000. Something Howard County could not achieve on its own.
This is the sixth year of the partnership between HCEDC and MAEDC.