New Position to Streamline Development in Red Wing

Friday, October 12, 2018

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Sustainable economic development doesn’t occur in a vacuum. At its most effective and efficient, it involves a conscious and collaborative effort between a strategic partnership of local allies.

Red Wing recently established a position to coordinate its economic development efforts. Community Development Concierge Melissa Baartman will serve as a primary point of contact for businesses as well as a connector of local economic development partners. The aim of this position is to better serve business customers looking to startup, expand or relocate in Red Wing.

The position will enhance communication and collaboration between a range of economic development partners, including the Red Wing Chamber of Commerce; the Convention & Visitors Bureau; Red Wing Ignite; Red Wing Downtown Main Street; Goodhue County; the Port Authority; the HRA, the City of Red Wing and Minnesota State College Southeast.

Baartman was hired in August to fill this role. “The idea is to improve the economic development experience from the customer’s point of view,” she explains. “To bring order and accountability to the way we work together to achieve common goals.”

The first task for the new concierge was to develop a simple road map for business owners to help streamline the development process. Businesses will be separated into two different tracks, depending on their needs. Track one is geared toward more established businesses and track two is for startups in the exploratory and planning stages.

Baartman helps connect businesses with the appropriate economic development agency or community development partner, depending on their needs. As an example, she notes that a gentleman contacted her recently because with a business idea but wasn’t sure where to start in terms of implementation. She directed him to other local partners that are suited to help him with some startup basics.

Once he has a business plan is in place, Baartman expects him to come back and move to track one. Then she can help connect him with additional resources to address issues such as financing.

Baartman has worked for the city for several years, first as an office clerk then as a community development officer. She has expertise in working on building permitting and zoning issues, which will be beneficial for this new position.

“I look forward to serving as a liaison between businesses and our economic development partners. Making this process more efficient and convenient for businesses will ultimately benefit Red Wing’s economy,” she says.

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