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SL United plans Wood, Wine and Blues Festival; economic outlook is bright

Monday, December 24, 2012

Storm Lake United has several new activities planned for the coming year in an effort to continue increasing tourism and local option sales tax revenue.

During an annual request for funding from the Buena Vista County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, Executive Director Gary Lalone and Marketing/Activities Coordinator Paige Baskerville presented the events in conjunction with the organization's highlights this past year.

Baskerville said Storm Lake United is considering "movie in the park" nights, a coupon book, store front spirit competition, a business expo, funding entrepreneurial businesses and a young professionals network, similar to Jaycees.

Although a date has not been determined for a Wood, Wine and Blues Festival, Baskerville explained it would likely include wood carving, wine and art in addition to a blues concert in a Storm Lake park.

Local option sales tax for 2011-20112 has increased by $100,000.

"We've definitely had more visitors in the area," Lalone said.

Storm Lake United is currently working with a byproduct company that is considering a location in Storm Lake that could employ 30.

SLU is also working with a half-dozen retail opportunities looking to develop in the community.

This past year, the organization aided Harvest International, Grand Central's expansion project, Family Dental's new office and the Woodland Creek housing development near Emerald Park. Involvement with the Employer's Council of Iowa Storm Lake Chapter in lieu of an Iowa Workforce Development office remains a work in progress, Lalone noted.

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