Monday, January 2, 2017

Understanding the Economic Development Corporation and What it Does

Recently we set down with members of the Baldwin City Economic Development Corporation to find out more about the non-profit.

What is the Baldwin City Economic Development Corporation (EDC)?
Motivated by the Lawrence/Douglas County EDC, The Baldwin City EDC was established in a meeting of local business leaders on September 20. 2006. Over the past 10 years, the EDC has raised over $120,000 from the private sector putting it all back into local economic development projects.   
We have not paid out labor/wages to any staff and we have kept our overhead very low so as to put funding into areas that make a big difference in our community.
The EDC helps create business, which in turn helps create jobs and new tax revenue for the community, said Hank Booth. 
Brian Cramer, a volunteer with the group highlighted that the EDC helped create, along with Midland Railway, a fundraiser to raise funds for the non-profit organizations of Midland Railway and Kansas Belle Dinner Train to help maintain the train cars and tracks that both organizations use.
Why was the EDC founded?
The EDC is a non-profit organization, established for the sole purpose to promote commerci
al and residential stability and growth in the community. The community is defined as the Baldwin City School District. Promotional areas of interest falls into six categories:
  1. Creates employment in the community the community
  2. Increases tourism in the community
  3. Improves the quality of life in the community
  4. Assists start up businesses in getting established
  5. Assists existing businesses with expansions or improvements

How does the EDC help businesses?
In addition to helping attract new businesses to Baldwin City, the EDC also helps businesses in need. When Rainbow Preschool needed to buy a permanent home after renting space for the previous 50 years, the EDC decided to help them, as they were meeting the daycare/childcare needs of the community.    Another business in town that came to the EDC in a very tight financial jam and needed $15,000 to keep operating and this was a very important business that is viable to the community.   In a five day time frame the EDC raised and/or donated $15,000 to keep this business operating.  

Recently the EDC received $15,000 from the council, what will that money be used for?
The EDC asked the council to help with half of the annual expenses of operations and labor. The EDC will continue funding the other half from the private sector.

What would you say to the critics to calm their concerns about the funding from the city?
Hank Booth -  When we bring a new business or home to Baldwin City, that money is repaid, when taxes are collected from that new business or residence.  The more businesses, more residences that come to Baldwin City, the city sees more revenue.

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