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Column: Port Authority's strategic plan sets the stage

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opinion Red Wing,Minnesota 55066 http://www.republican-eagle.com/sites/all/themes/republicaneagle_theme/images/social_default_image.png
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Column: Port Authority's strategic plan sets the stage
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

The Red Wing Port Authority adopted a strategic plan that leads economic development for the city of Red Wing in 2013 and beyond. The plan is organized into five goals as follows:

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Business retention

Retain and support existing businesses to grow and prosper in Red Wing.

Red Wing is home to world-class manufacturers, unique retailers and an arts community that is increasingly implementing successful business models to generate revenues. As a community, we must strive to retain the 9,000 jobs that employ people in the region and grow and diversify our employment base.

The Port Authority will lead the effort to retain existing businesses and position its services to assist business expansion in a proactive way. Our loan programs and our partnerships with other economic development organizations leverage both financial and technical assistance.

@Sub heads:Business attraction

@Normal1: Proactively pursue and attract new businesses to Red Wing.

As a community we must be more aggressive in promoting new business growth in Red Wing. People come to Red Wing for its history, natural beauty, and many community events.

Our downtown vacancies need to be addressed, particularly to fill storefronts with new restaurants and other specialty retailers.

The Port Authority will work with the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Main Street, the Visitors and Convention Bureau and other business associations to develop marketing strategies to recruit new businesses to Red Wing.

Create an entrepreneurial and technology-based economy

Support the creation of innovative, entrepreneurial and emerging businesses and technologies.

As a US Ignite designated community, Red Wing is poised to grow its technology presence through its broadband infrastructure and fiber-to-the-home capabilities. Red Wing Ignite has been organized as a nonprofit corporation to promote Red Wing as a destination for early stage technology companies. Red Wing Ignite is in the process of updating the Community Development Building as a site for a business incubator.

Independent of the business incubator, several meetings have been convened to discuss the formation of a community based equity fund, called the Red Wing Angel Fund. The Red Wing Angel Fund will be organized as a limited liability company to include both individual and institutional investors with a goal of raising $1 million.

The business incubator and the fund will be marketed to technology businesses to attract them to Red Wing to grow and expand in the community.

Promote development and redevelopment

Implement key planning for development and redevelopment projects.

The Port Authority has oversight of the Mississippi River shoreline for both recreational and commercial usage. Several citizens in Red Wing have told me that we are not capturing our share of the transient boater market. We need to develop a plan in which we can more fully attract and engage transient boaters to Red Wing and better leverage our many amenities to this market.

The Port Authority also owns several parcels of land that are in various stages of development. The port needs to evaluate its real estate holdings, assess their commercial viability, and develop those parcels accordingly.

Promote professional development

Build and nurture a highly functional, productive staff and board.

As an organization, the Port Authority needs to connect to other port organizations and economic development organizations and learn from a best practices approach to evolve our presence with the management of the Mississippi River and to promote economic development in sustainable and measurable ways. We also need to encourage ongoing professional development for our commissioners and staff.

The Red Wing Port Authority has been in operation since 1985 and has significantly contributed to the economic vitality of Red Wing. As a community, we have tremendous assets and a quality brand to promote to many constituents.

The Port Authority commissioners, the Harbor commissioners and the Port Authority staff look forward to the implementation of the strategic goals. I welcome your feedback at randy.olson@ci.red-wing.mn.us.

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