At an Economic Development Sedalia-Pettis County Board of Directors meeting on Wednesday, EDSPC Executive Director Jessica Craig said that while first-quarter activity is typically pretty quiet, prospects for Quarter One in 2022 have been “incredibly active.”

A lot of companies have a lot of pent-up growth inside their own walls for various reasons, including supply chain issues, inflation, and COVID, Craig noted, and EDSPC is getting more looks during site searches because of Pettis County's availability of large buildings as well as “Missouri Certified“ land available at Thompson Meadows Industrial Park.

“In economic development, usually January, February and March are a little quiet, but we have seen the exact opposite here in Sedalia and Pettis County,” Craig told KSIS after the meeting.

“We've had tremendous interest from businesses both already here in the community that are interested in expanding, but also from outside the community, looking to Sedalia and Pettis County from a growth perspective. So our prospect report is strong. I think that if the first quarter is any indication of what 2022 is going to end up looking like, we are going to be very busy, and it could be a fantastic year for our great community,” Craig said.

Several existing buildings are available, and that helps us, Craig said, because with supply chain costs, inflationary costs, and the cost of building and construction, “existing buildings are hard to come by, and are very marketable right now,” she said.

“So we're spending a great deal of time showing those buildings to companies and looking at existing real estate. On the other side, the TMIP has about 100 acres available that are Missouri Certified Sites. It is definitely shovel ready. And then for those companies that need rail service moving freight, both inbound and outbound, Sedalia's new rail industrial park is critically important for our community as well,” Craig stated.

Missouri explained that a “Missouri Certified Site” is one that “we have done due diligence on a piece of property for greenfield construction” where utilities are in place, the water shed is taken care of, etc., and construction can literally begin right away.

“I think there's approximately 20 of them across the state of Missouri,” Craig noted.

EDSPC hosted a meeting March 25 for the Hawthorn Foundation and the Missouri Partnership Board. “They are the state's business recruitment and marketing arm. Usually they have their board meetings in St. Louis, Kansas City and Springfield. But with our relationship with them, and continuing to build our relation with them over the years, and with the growth we're experienced here, they thought it was a great community to showcase here in Sedalia,” Craig told KSIS.

“We hosted about 65 business leaders from across the entire state of Missouri at the new Heckart Community Center. And the comments we received were incredibly positive about the growth of the community, and all of the assets we have here in our backyard,” Craig said.

Craig revealed that she served as judge at the FIRST Robotics Central Missouri Regional Competition, held April 2 at Smith-Cotton High School.

“We had about 30 high school robotics teams visit the community for about four days. And what a great opportunity to showcase the assets of the school system and high school complex itself. And to sit down with these young men and women that are building robots, and building a business plan ... it was really refreshing to know that those are our leaders of tomorrow,” Craig said.

Business retention and expansion meetings are currently under way with major industries an a handful of others, Craig noted, in an effort to remain in touch and see if they need assistance or if they have any celebrations coming up throughout the year.

“It's really my way of creating an open door policy with those business leaders, so that if they need assistance from us, we can be there to help them. So our goal is to log about 30 of those in a year's time frame. And we've been doing that for decades now, to be honest. That really is I think has been a major driver in why we've been able to keep the companies here thriving and growing in Sedalia and Pettis County,” Craig said.

About 30 to 40 percent of prospective companies looking to relocate or expand need rail access. “It is incredibly unique where you have industrial water, industrial sewer, natural gas, electricity, good highway access and rail access,” Craig said.

“With the new rail industrial park, we can offer those sites, ranging from five acres to 1,000,” she noted.

Craig credited the ongoing financial support of the City of Sedalia and the County of Pettis.

“We could not do what we do on a daily basis without the support of Pettis County and the City of Sedalia. Not just the financial support, but support all the way around,” Craig said. The City and County are incredible partners to bring projects to fruition, she added.

The EDSPC Board of Directors said goodbye to Dr. Joanna Anderson in her last appearance as a board member. SFCC President Dr. Anderson retires June 30. Dr. Brent Bates has been named as her replacement.

“Our community is stronger with the contributions that Dr. Anderson has given,” Craig said, pointing to the new Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center as just one example.

Below in the group photo: Pictured Left to Right: Todd Gerlt, Kenny Norton, Kyle Weymuth, Danny Young, Dr. Joanna Anderson, Jessica Craig – EDSPC Executive Director, David Dick, Jim Marcum, Sydnae Cavness, John Swearingen, and Rusty Kahrs.

Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby
Randy Kirby

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