Stafford County Economic Development has been notified that it was awarded a
$780,800 Community Economic Development grant from the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services. Funding will be used for construction of a new
grocery, pharmacy, and fuel center in St. John at the intersection of U.S.
Highway 281 and 5th Avenue to provide fresh food and approximately 30 jobs.
Construction is expected to begin before year end.
Site where the grocery, pharmacy and fuel center will be constructed.
For the past year, Economic Development had been making plans to construct a two-story building at 202 N. Main in St. John across from Gray’s Photo Studio. This new structure would not only provide working space for an entrepreneur, but also living quarters.
Meanwhile, Economic Development had the opportunity to buy a building that fit our proposed construction plans. Eco Devo now owns the building at 311 N. Broadway in St. John on the east side of the City Square. The main level is an open area that will be utilized as working space. The second floor is a three-bedroom apartment with a bathroom, living room and kitchen. This building has been used as a restaurant, flower shop, and insurance office in the past.
Immediately occupying the space will be the new pharmacy, Stafford County Drug. The intent is that they will rent this space until the new grocery store is constructed on U.S. Highway 281, at which time they will move out there and even have a drive through window.
Stafford County Drug has been ready to start their physical business in Stafford County for a while now, but ran in to that question of where does one go. It’s kind of that illogical paradox that even though we don’t have a lot of new business creation, one of the hard things is to find available space. Eco Devo is trying to alleviate that with their business incubator.
There are some minor renovations going on inside the building before the pharmacy will open. So, there isn’t an official open date yet, but things are under way.
It's been roughly a generation since Stafford County last had a pharmacy.
Having a tenant right away will give Eco Devo staff a little bit of time to develop our next plan for what the incubator will be. Eco Devo very much wants to use the idea that it has residential space. Staff members think it could be helpful to place interns in the area, or even recruit college students that are studying entrepreneurship to give them a more defined way to launch their business. Staff will now begin to develop an application, find additional sources of funding, and even develop policy and procedures for future tenants.
In April, Golden Belt Community Foundation was selected as a participant for the Center for Rural Entrepreneurship and the Aspen Institute's Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovators Network (REDPIN).
Stafford County Economic Development's Staff member, Carolyn Dunn assisted Golden Belt Community Foundation with their application earlier this year. Dunn is part of Golden Belt Community Foundation's core team for this networking opportunity that will take them around the Country learning from other foundations. This will be an 18-month peer learning network exploring philanthropy's role in rural economic development.
From Golden Belt Community Foundation's Spring 2017 Newsletter:
GBCF Accepted Into Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovators Network (REDPIN)
The Center for Rural Entrepreneurship (CRE) and the Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (Aspen CSG), is pleased to announce the nine community foundations from across the US selected to participate in an 18-month peer learning network exploring philanthrophy's role in rural economic development - the Rural Economic Development Philanthropy Innovator's Network (REDPIN).
REDPIN will expose participants to a range of economic development practices and provide them with an environment of peer advising and support. As part of the network, each participating foundation will analyze their local economy and apply community and economic development tools to improve their region's prospects, with a special emphasis on helping low-income families, communities and businesses do better. The network is being launched with initial funding provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation and by participating foundations.
"REDPIN presents an opportunity to think differently about how the Golden Belt Community Foundation can increase impact across the four county area," Christy Tustin, Executive Director state, "We hope to learn strategies for rural family, business and/or community economic success."
The network was developed following the success of two national workshops Aspen CSG and the Center offered in 2015 and 2016. These workshops explored innovative roles place-rooted foundations are taking in economic development. CRE and Aspen CSG also outlined the potential for community foundations to play economic leadership roles in A New Domain for Place-Rooted Foundations: Economic Development Philanthropy (The Foundation Review, September 2016). This article provides an overview of the thinking and approach that underlies REDPIN. The first gathering of selected foundations will take place in late spring.
What is Economic or Community Development Philanthropy?
Foundations practice community development philanthropy when they address critical community issues and play integrating or missing roles to advance regional economic development in ways that build enduring prosperity and livelihoods for all, especially those at the margins.
Congrats to the following participating foundations:
Stafford County Economic Development
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