Guide to Community Planning in Wisconsin by Brian W. Ohm

Chapter 13: Economic Development
      Last Page          Table of Contents        Next Page 

1.1  Migration of Firms

The addition of new export-oriented businesses to a community will add new employment and income directly. Export-oriented businesses include manufacturing, agriculture, and non-manufacturing (such as tourist attractions, insurance headquarters, computer services, and wholesale warehouses). In a planning context, the relevant questions that need to be addressed take the form of setting aside land for industrial development, insuring that public infrastructure services are in place, and seems to it that the nature of the targeted businesses are complementary to the broader goals of the community.

Other questions that need to be raised include addressing issues of agricultural value added (linked businesses that support agricultural commodity production) and tourism services/infrastructure. Within the broader community development context, many tourism components also enhance the quality of life for local residents. For example, restaurants, museums, and cultural events that cater primarily to tourists also attract and benefit local residents.

Examples of specific activities that local communities can pursue to attract new businesses include:

  1. Development of local industrial sites and public services, and dissemination of labor information to potential employers;
  2. Development of community and regional facilities necessary to attract new employers:
    a. Transportation (e.g., airports, railways, highways)
    b. Recreational facilities (e.g., parks, hunting grounds, restaurants, hotels, convention centers)
    c. Communications (e.g., newspaper, telephone)
    d. Services (e.g., banking, computers, legal assistance, accounting);
  3. Encouragement of collective action through formation of organizations such as industrial development corporations;
  4. Identification and organization of community capital resources to assist in attracting new business (e.g, industrial revenue bonding, bank loans);
  5. Identification through research of basic employer(s) with greatest potential; and
  6. Identification of specific public programs, projects, offices, and or services that could be located in the community and taking political action to secure them.

Organizations in Wisconsin that help communities attract new firms include Forward Wisconsin and the Department of Commerce. See Appendix 1 for information on how to contact these organizations.