Deuel Area Development Joins the Learning Network
“We had been thinking about joining the Dakota Resources Learning Network for some time, but the last RuralX confirmed it for us,” says Joan Sacrison, Executive Director of Deuel Area Development. “The high caliber speakers and the energy surrounding the topic of ‘a new rural’ helped our board realize it was the right time to join.”
Deuel Area Development, Inc. joined the Learning Network in July, and while they are just getting their feet wet, they have had a positive experience so far. Deuel County is located in east central South Dakota and includes the communities of Clear Lake, Gary, Toronto, Brandt, Astoria, Altamont, Goodwin and Bemis. Like many rural areas, the communities are challenged by a lack of quality, affordable housing, local employment and residents shopping in nearby larger communities. Through their relationship with Dakota Resources, Deuel Area Development is working on one solution that would help answer the challenges.
“Mike Knutson from Dakota Resources has been very helpful in getting us started with the Learning Network. He is extremely responsive when we have needs or questions, and was great about getting us in touch with Dick Werner about the possibility of a Capital Investment Fund loan. It just might be the answer we need to get our project off the ground.”
The project Joan is referring to involves constructing a new twin home in a neighborhood known as Wildlife Estates, a development that broke ground in 2015 thanks in part to the REED Fund and a USDA Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program (REDLG), along with some additional loans.
“We feel that construction of a twin home in Wildlife Estates could help spur more construction in the neighborhood,” explains Joan. “It will be the perfect place for retirees or people who are looking to downsize. We need some funding to help make this a reality, and we’re grateful that Dakota Resources has a flexible, low-interest loan out there as an option.”
In addition to learning about Capital Investment Funds through Dakota Resources, Joan is appreciating the visionary community leaders involved in the Learning Network.
“I feel the next step is to figure out how to transfer the energy from this inner circle of people out to the communities to help everyone get fired up,” she says. “There are many people in every community who have ideas and energy to contribute, but for whatever reason we’ve not tapped into them as resources. We need to find ways to get people involved—and maybe through the Learning Network we will.”
The Dakota Resources Learning Network is designed to help rural communities and rural economic development leaders connect and engage with one another in order to explore and learn more about topics that matter most to rural economic and community development: engaging people, supporting housing development, supporting local businesses and managing local economic development organizations. This network of regional communities is growing fast, thanks to proven successes and amazing collaborations. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or visit our website dakotaresources.org.