Lincoln and Minnehaha counties plan for the future

Posted on July 13, 2017

Paula Jensen
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Sometimes, a move forward requires a step back.

That’s exactly what Nick Fosheim, Executive Director of the Lincoln and Minnehaha County Economic Development Associations, decided to do in 2016.

“We have been a regional economic development collaborative for about fifteen communities around Sioux Falls for twenty-five years,” says Nick. “Many things have changed since we started, and we decided it was time to take stock of where we’ve been and where we want to go. We wanted some clear perspective, and that’s what Dakota Resources helped provide.”

Nick knew about the value of Dakota Resources because of his previous employment with economic development in Webster and their involvement in Dakota Rising.

“I respected the process and their ability to engage a community,” he says. “We decided to partner with Dakota Resources through Empower! Dakota in an effort to build a strategic plan for Lincoln and Minnehaha counties.”

The Lincoln County Economic Development Association (LCEDA) and the Minnehaha County Economic Development Association (MCEDA) are in a unique cooperative designed to serve fifteen communities in the two counties. The development associations worked with Joe Bartmann and John Beranek of Dakota Resources to host four community listening sessions in each county, gather feedback from community members, make strategic recommendations and formulate a plan.

“It’s never easy for any organization or community group to take the time and effort to step back and do a lot of listening to the people they serve, but it can be such a breakthrough experience for them when they make the commitment to do it,” explains Joe Bartmann, community coach for Empower! Dakota, “Once they listen to what their community wants and needs from them, deciding what projects to do and what approaches to shift becomes much more clear.”

That clear vision is a vital step to empowering an economic development corporation to make informed, trusted decisions.

“On the outside it may have seemed like a long process, but it’s an investment,” explains Nick. “We learned the importance of taking the time to do the steps right and to have an open mind. For me, the biggest benefit is taking all that conversation and moving it to action.”

Empower! Dakota Fiscal Year 2016 Outcomes: 

  • 38 active initiative teams
  • 402 local people involved in initiative teams
  • 1158 total attendance for gatherings, celebrations or listening sessions
  • 27 additional outside volunteers/ stakeholders

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