This is a paid piece from the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance.
Simplified: Salem is restarting its local economic development group and focusing on future growth. Here's how the Sioux Metro Growth Alliance is helping make it happen.
Why it matters
- Salem faces many of the same challenges of other communities right now when it comes to housing and labor shortages, city Finance Director Lori Heumiller said. That's part of why the city signed on as a partner with SMGA in January.
- With the help of an economic development specialist from SMGA, Salem has someone with a dedicated focus on helping the town grow. Specialist Sheldon Jensen is working directly with people and businesses Salem to scout out some potential growth opportunities.
- In the first month of that partnership, SMGA helped Salem establish a new economic development corporation – a board of local people focused on growth and led by Progressive Salem Association President Glenda Blindert.
"They’re very good at following through," Heumiller said of SMGA, "so if you give them a job they take it by the horns, and they work and work and work until things get done."
Tell me more about Salem
It's located about halfway between Sioux Falls and Mitchell, making it a great spot for people who want to be just a little bit further removed from the metro area, Blindert said.
"I think that people are in some cases wanting to get out being closer to metro Sioux Falls and into a smaller school district," she said. "We have a great school here with wonderful facilities."
The town also has several services available locally, Heumiller said, which means people don't have to drive to one of the bigger cities for things like a hardware store, a doctor appointment or an upgraded city pool.
Salem has had an economic development board in the past, Blindert said, but most of the members have retired or passed. Partnering with SMGA has given that work a renewed focus.
What happens next?
One of the first goal of the new economic development corporation is to address the town's housing needs, Blindert said.
The broader goal, though, is to attract more people and businesses to Salem.
"We’re going to keep doing things for our community to attract people to move here and to stay here to raise their families," Heumiller said.