The Warrensburg City Council received a progress report from the Johnson County Economic Development Corporation (JCEDC) on Monday night.

Tracy Brantner, CEcD, executive director of the JCEDC, a 501(c)3 organization, said the 15-member board has embarked on strategic planning with a third-party assessment, the first of its kind in 10 years.

“It was a little nerve wracking,” Brantner said of the process. “But the timing was great,” adding that the Dollar Tree Distribution Center project is now complete.

She thanked everyone involved with the Dollar Tree training project, which was used prior to completion of the main structure, located just northeast of Warrensburg. “Everybody came together in a wonderful fashion,” Brantner said.

Five private investors were added in 2018, bringing in a total of $9,500 in much-needed investment dollars.

JCEDC is currently looking for a part-time marketing coordinator to add to its staff. The coordinator would be working about 20 hours a week, she noted.

Several committees were realigned this year. Two of those committees involve a talent supply and employers task force. A housing task force may be added later, Brantner said.

In the Enhanced Enterprise Zone, six new full-time jobs were created in 2018, and there were $2,341,000 in total investments to date. Johnson County's EEZ status has about 22 ½ years remaining.

A Blue Skyboys drone video has been completed to help market Brady Commerce Park, Holden Business Park and Shamrock Business Park. The videos will be packaged and uploaded to all three corresponding sites, she noted.

The JCEDC provided existing business development asistance for six primary employers, Brantner said. In addition, site selction services and existing development asistance was provided to 29 small business owners and entrepreneurs in 2018, the largest number since Brantner came on board. That number is normally around 16 to 19, she emphasized.

In 2018, the PCEDC reviewed two microloans and aproved one for $2,500. Since 2006, a total of 13 Johnson County businesses have taken advantage of a total of $115,00 in microloans. And, there are still $35,158 in funds still available, Brantner said.

One new businesses announcement in 2018 was C K Enterprises (formerly WINCO Fireworks) which is now located in western Johnson County. The company generated 74 jobs and hopes to add 24 more in the future.

Brantner said the JCEDC hopes to partner with several entities in the futre as well to attract new residents to the area, a process she calls “placemaking.”

“We need a good talent pipeline,” she told the Council. Brantner has more than 30 years of experience in economic development.

Randy Kirby