Possible membership in the Iowa Great Lakes Corridor of Opportunity will take up a slice of the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors' time as the Board meets today.
It is scheduled to address Corridor membership at 11 a.m.
The county has been approached by various other development groups, most notably Fort Dodge. However, the Board seems to agree that alignment with the Corridor would be the most appropriate fit, given the fact that two out of three of the current member counties share a Highway 71 route that includes Spencer and the Iowa Great Lakes.
The Corridor formed in 1992 with Dickinson and Clay Counties as members. Emmet County just east of Dickinson County joined just before last Thanksgiving.
"We think it's an excellent fit into the region," Corridor Executive Director Kathy Evert said. "There are a lot of common economic reasons."
As for Project AWAYSIS, said Evert, "I think it's a great project for the community and the region."
Storm Lake, which received harshly critical press over such issues as crime and growing pains with integration of minorities in the 1990s, has dramatically overcome that criticism by a community-wide approach at dealing with bread-and-butter economic issues. Storm Lake has been recognized statewide, and in some instances, nationwide, for its "color blindness".
Storm Lake went one better when the city received an $8 million Vision Iowa grant from the Iowa Department of Economic Development for Project AWAYSIS and voters approved bond and sales tax issues to match the state grant.
If there was ever any question as to whether Buena Vista County would be an equal player in developing the tourism market, those questions have been answered.
With four counties as members, the Corridor would be able to share resources through joint laborshed and targeted industry studies, Evert said. "We see that there could be some synergy," said Evert. She said one of the most immediate benefits would be that the Corridor could take advantage of regional marketing funds available through the Iowa Department of Economic Development.
Emmet County paid $20,000 for a four-year Corridor membership. Evert said that while membership costs have not yet been discussed with Buena Vista County, "I expect it would be comparable."