Monona Chamber shares update with city council

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Monona Chamber and Economic Development (MCED) Executive Director Rogeta Halvorson went before the Monona Council Jan. 23, recapping MCED’s 2016 accomplishments and highlighting their plans for 2017.

In 2016, explained Halvorson, MCED increased its business partnerships by 15 percent, to 56 members. The number of followers to MCED’s Facebook page, as well as the Monona Hay Days page, has also increased. Their website has also seen over 150,000 unique page visits per year. Two new highway billboards, which MCED helped design and facilitate, were installed. 

In addition, MCED has worked with community members to grow Monona’s Hay Days celebration, formed shopping promotions and Small Business Saturday and Shop Hop events, helped organize an event to raise funds for the 100-year-old bandstand in the city park and promoted community and business activities. MCED was a large part of Monona’s participation in the Iowa Living Roadways Community Visioning, helping to formulate plans and present the design concepts to the community.

Halvorson said some economic development work included participating with the city, county, FreedomBank and NEIT to develop a potential commercial/industrial park in the community; assisting building owners in showing their properties to potential buyers or tenants; putting on consulting sessions for businesses; and participating in a county housing needs assessment and brownfields workshop to aid in Monona’s growth.

In 2017, Halvorson said MCED will work to grow its membership and continue to promote community and business activities. With help from the city, Halvorson said she’s working on a grant for funding for the bandstand. Discussions will continue regarding the potential commercial/industrial park south of town, she noted.

Last year, Halvorson added, MCED created a state listing for the Commercial Vehicle Group (CVG) building in Monona, as well as a brochure, in hopes of selling it to a new user who will keep the staff. Last year, CVG announced plans to close the Monona location in 2017.

While March was originally thought to be the closing date, that’s now been pushed to June, Halvorson said, noting that the building has drawn some interest.

“The state has a lead,” she told the council. “[The interested party] wants to come and do a tour, to see what the building has to offer.”

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