Today, the EDC’s parent has reached the big 5-0.
Articles of Incorporation for the Grand Forks Development Foundation were signed and dated on this day in 1967 by Brooks Baukol, Paul Olander, Gale Satrom, Thomas Degnan, and Lewis Crain.
“The purpose or purposes for which the corporation is organized are: To aid, assist, and promote the development and expansion of business and industrial concerns in the City of Grand Forks, North Dakota, and environs, by making lands, plant, or other facilities available to all such concerns through lease, purchase, or other means, and to thereby contribute to the economic wellbeing and stability of the community, the state, and the nation.”
Those of us here today who are carrying on the work they started don’t have much more to reference about the earliest years. It’s not until 1984 that we have detailed minutes and begin to discover more about our parents. While the Development Foundation evolved when the Corporation was established in 1988, we’re learning they addressed similar issues and opportunities as we do today.
“The Grand Forks Development Foundation supports the concept of a sales tax as an alternate source of income so as to avoid excessive rates for water and sewage.”
The board received information “about plans for future sales tax funds, which will be used for water, streets, and critical infrastructure projects…” and passed a motion going “on record in support of the proposed city sales tax increase…”
Our early leaders were instrumental in developing the industrial park, establishing and managing our Foreign Trade Zone, and promoting our region for business recruitment. We continue to carry all three of those torches to one degree or another.
The foundations of a strong economic development effort that were put in place 50 years ago by visionary leaders haven’t changed: Infrastructure, a vibrant community to attract and retain business, and engaged leadership with a commitment to supporting growth are vital.
Those foundations are as strong today as they were in 1967 and they’ll continue to strengthen in the next 50 years.