FEDA opts for its own website

FAIRMONT — Fairmont Economic Development Authority took a progressive step on Monday by authorizing creation of a self-promotional website.

FEDA currently has a link on the city’s website, but it’s a static page with limited information.

“What we’re doing is a stand-alone website separate from the city’s,” said Linsey Preuss, the city’s economic development director. “We’re looking at a completely different consumer.”

The site will contain an array of current information about available buildings, the local workforce, housing and other data geared to luring the relocation of an existing company or sparking the development of a new venture.

The endeavor carries a $29,000 price tag for a five-year contract, which includes maintenance fees, copywriting, design and content, all customized for and approved by FEDA. Also included are regular updates and a complete redesign after four years.

The firm, Golden Shovel Agency, is based in Little Falls. Preuss talked to some of the company’s clients and received positive reviews of their work. She also noted the cost was competitive compared to other agencies.

FEDA members had a positive reaction to the proposal.

“The consistent updating of content is important. Keeping it refreshed and keeping it relevant is a good idea,” said Tom Hawkins.

“Let’s do it,” said Chairman Tom Lytle. “Let’s invest the dollars and see what kind of return we get on it.”

The domain name has not yet been determined, but Preuss estimated the website would be up and running sometime in the spring.

Turning to other business, Preuss presented the board with the 2016 annual report, which chronicled the growth FEDA has assisted in generating the past year.

“During 2016, FEDA assisted numerous businesses by providing educational materials, direct support and financial assistance. As a result, 69 full-time jobs will be created within the next five years, and approximately $4 million in private investment was encouraged through our work,” the report stated.

The most visible projects were Zierke Built Manufacturing, relocating 35 jobs from Winnebago to the former US Foods building and adding 30 more jobs within the next five years; Fairmont Realty Group LLC, which demolished three blighted houses at First Street and Prairie Avenue to make room for rental housing units near the Southern Minnesota Educational Campus; and Fairmont Butcher Block, located in the renovated Olson Locker building on Winnebago Avenue. Projects started in 2015 and completed in 2016 included Graffiti Corner and the Commodity Services building.

The board approved Wendy Voss as a new member, replacing Bob Bartingale, who resigned after serving on FEDA for the past six years.

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