Greeting Chamber Members,
As your Executive Director, I get A LOT of questions. Here are a few of the most frequently asked questions.
Why does the City of Waseca own so much land?
They buy land for any number of reasons from economic development to blighted and abandoned properties to legal obligations. The Gaiter Lake Property, just south of the Pondview Development, is an example of buying land due to a legal obligation. The City bought that land to comply with a DNR regulation. Ultimately, more land was purchase than what was needed because the owner did not want to just sell a small strip of their property. It was an all or nothing deal; the City had to take all of it. For economic development purposes, a City can buy land at market rate but then sell it to a developer for less as a part of a business subsidy program. It is a way for Waseca to make it more economical and enticing for developers to choose to business in our community.
How is our local Chamber associated with the State Chamber?
The WACC is a member of the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce and we pay about $500 annually for that membership. That membership gives us access, access to different programs and initiatives. Things such as Workforce Development initiates, managing coalitions that focus on bringing jobs to Minnesota, and of course advocating to state legislators to give Minnesota a heightened pro-business environment. What our dollars do not go towards are campaign contributions to any specific candidate, party, or Political Action Committee. Your individual business can belong to the State Chamber and take advantage of their programs like, EnergySmart, WasteWise, or MN Supplier Match. If you have questions about those programs, I can help you dive deeper into that.
Has Waseca’s population dropped?
Yes. According to Census information from 2010 and Census estimates from 2017, Waseca’s population has dropped about 435 people (4.6%). Sounds bad right? Nah, the information behind the numbers makes it much less concerning. As you may know, the inmates at Waseca’s Federal Correctional Institution are included in our population numbers. Waseca FCI has seen a significant decrease in their inmate population over the years; their numbers show they are down 400-450 inmates from their peak. The reason behind that is due to a lack of doctors at their institution. They cannot take on additional inmates if they do not have enough doctors to serve their population. Therefore, less doctors = less inmates = lower population for Waseca.
I heard we are getting a hotel, is that true?
The short answer is, no not in the very near future. A study done by the EDA confirmed what we all knew, there is a need for another hotel in Waseca. The City has reached out to some national hotel chains stating our hotel study and underlining the opportunity that exists in Waseca. No bites so far. In order to get this hotel task accomplished, we need a group of local investors to get the process started.
If you ever find yourself scratching your head about something in Waseca, just ask me. I am here to be your resource and I will find the answer for you.
P.S. Don’t forget to support your fellow Chamber Members this holiday shopping season. You can find a little something for everyone right here at home.