Driftless Development to host 2019 Economic Outlook

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Driftless Development Inc. (DDI) invites all area businesses and residents to attend the “2019 Economic Outlook: A Vision for Our Future” on Monday, Dec. 10. The event will take place at the historic Dousman House on the riverfront in Prairie du Chien from 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., with the program starting at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature a community-wide celebration of 2018 accomplishments and an economic outlook for 2019 and beyond in the greater Crawford County region.

Rick Dickinson, CEO of the Greater Dubuque Development Corporation will serve as keynote speaker for the evening. Luke Zahm, noted chef and owner of the Driftless Café in Viroqua, and Nora Schmidt, Executive Director of the Viroqua Chamber Main Street will talk about their success with the Viroqua Chamber Main Street program and propose a new partnership between Crawford and Vernon counties. Jim Bowman, DDI Executive Director, will present economic development basics, 2018 accomplishments and what’s ahead in 2019, a guide to focusing on DDI regional efforts.

Additional presentations will include the introduction of the Market Area Study conducted during 2018, and the unveiling of the new DDI website and branding guide. DDI will also update attendees on its major initiatives, including the HR Mastermind Group, Broadband Study, Housing Study and the Prairie du Chien Main Street Program.

Attendees will enjoy heavy appetizers, desserts and complementary beer, wine and soda. Dan Moris will provide music and serve as MC for the event. Registrants will be eligible for door prizes offered by participating businesses. Area businesses are also invited to showcase their products and services through a sponsored table or display their business information free of charge.

“This celebration event is our first annual year-end progress report and a look into what we plan to achieve next year. It is also a way to provide local businesses a free and convenient way to promote their products and services along with presenting a few exciting announcements,” said Duane Rogers, president of DDI.

DDI formed in early 2018 as a merger of the Crawford County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) and the Prairie du Chien Economic Development Corporation (PdCEDC). After forming a transition board of directors overseeing the merger of the two former economic development corporations, a permanent board of directors was appointed at its July meeting.

The organization is in the midst of the Forward Together campaign to fully fund the organization. The primary focus of the organization is to retain and expand existing businesses while also nurturing new small business start-ups and attracting new manufacturers and businesses. 

DDI has five Pathways to Progress that were identified at county-wide listening sessions. They include: Attract young families and younger workers; Create more housing options; Improve the perception of our schools and encourage school-to-work; Build county-wide broadband connectivity; and Revitalize core business districts and downtowns.

Attendees are asked to RSVP to Liz Bremmer at l.bremmer@driftlessdevelopment.com or (608) 412-3343. Area businesses interested in sponsoring a table or display opportunities at the event should also contact Liz.

For more information about the 2019 Economic Outlook event or DDI and its initiatives, contact Jim Bowman, executive director at info@DriftlessDevelopment.com or 326-0234. 

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