The seeds of economic development often take years to bear fruit.
Having done the planting, so to speak, Fort Dodge and Webster County are now poised to reap the harvest.
A combination of available land and key investments is about to pay off in the form of high-quality growth in the region, according to Iowa's top economic development official.
"You guys are just doing everything right," Debi Durham, director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said Wednesday during a meeting with the editorial board of The Messenger.
Durham said the North Central Ag Industrial Park west of the city could be the site of more than $1 billion worth of investment in the near future. It is already home to the Valero Renewables ethanol plant and the former Tate & Lyle facility being renovated by Cargill, its new owner. And it will be the site of the $323 million amino acid plant planned by CJ CheilJedang Corp., doing business as CJ America. The Cargill and CJ CheilJedang plants are expected to open in the fall of 2013.
While infrastructure like rail lines is important for growth, Durham said quality-of-life projects are just as essential. She said Fort Dodge has made great strides in quality-of-life projects. She specifically cited the improvements at Harlan and Hazel Rogers Sports Complex.
Durham's assessment is cause for cheer throughout the region.
The Messenger applauds the Iowa Economic Development Authority's vision of a vibrant, competitive Iowa economy.