Mahaska Countys Board of Supervisors, the Oskaloosa Area Chamber & Development Group, and the Iowa Department of Economic Development have teamed up to form a Mahaska County Agricultural and Rural Development program. This program is designed to: help promote the development of value-added agricultural products; provide economic development assistance to smaller, rural communities in Mahaska County; and offer professional grant-writing expertise to help bring outside dollars into Mahaska County to fund special economic development initiatives.
Mahaska County has approximately 30 industrial products and services companies. Among these are companies committed to: production of valves and hydrants, septic tanks, soft drinks, gear boxes, feed and feed supplements, egg products, power hand tools, concert band music, moldings and cabinets, feed off-loading equipment, material and feed conveyance systems, and temporary lighting services for sporting events and music productions. The diversity of these products and services has resulted in a stable economy for the county.
Two years ago, the Oskaloosa Industrial Park consisted of 29 acres of land that had been owned by the Oskaloosa Area Chamber & Development Group since the mid-1980s. All but four of the 29 acres have since been sold. Additionally, the Oskaloosa Area Chamber & Development Group has recently purchased another 37 acres west of and adjacent to the current industrial park for the park expansion.
Industrial development was very prosperous in 1999. The most impressive economic development was the announcement of a new $22 million soybean plant. Other impressive economic developments include the teaming of the City of Oskaloosa Housing Development, local realtors and bankers, to develop plans for more affordable housing in Oskaloosa. More than $30,000 in private funds from local businesses and industries were raised for the Friends of Economic Development for special economic development initiatives.
The Oskaloosa Area Chamber & Development Group represents Mahaska County in its work done by Indian Hills Regional Development. Indian Hills Regional Development is made up of a group of economic developers, city and county officials and utilities representatives in Monroe, Wapello and Mahaska Counties. During the year 1999, the group worked with area businesses and industries, economic developers, and utilities on a $2 million bioprocessing training facility at the Iowa Bioprocessing Center in Eddyville. This was the first venture of this kind in the state.
The OACDG, through the Agricultural and Rural Development program, also provided eleven, low-interest loans for first-time home-buyers in Oskaloosa and neighboring communities in 1999. The future for industry in Oskaloosa and Mahaska County looks very promising when you look at all the achievements and advancements that have taken place over the years. This is truly a prosperous and growing area for businesses.
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