The Southern Valley Economic Development Authority (SVEDA) is preparing for a move.
With a 7-0 vote Thursday, Feb. 14, the board of directors approved moving forward with a one-year lease agreement. SVEDA would relocate to the Wahpeton Breckenridge Area Chamber of Commerce building, 1505 11th St. N. in Wahpeton.
“SVEDA will save approximately $760 a month with the new arrangement,” said Executive Director Justin Neppl.
The organization presently has office space at 328 Dakota Ave. in Wahpeton.
“Our savings are coming from a reduction in the costs of our monthly rent, utilities, cleaning and Internet bill,” Neppl continued.
Additionally, SVEDA will have more space. Moving to the Chamber building allows not only two offices, but a conference room.
“We will have a true front desk reception area, which is important,” Neppl added.
Besides the cost savings, Neppl is also looking forward to better efficiency. Currently, he is handling most of SVEDA’s tasks.
“We are not leveraging our shared employee agreement with the Chamber like we could be,” Neppl continued.
Lisa Aamold serves as assistant director of the the Chamber. She also attends SVEDA meetings.
“This new lease agreement would allow for the typical efficiencies that are found in offices where the director and administrative assistant are co-located,” Neppl said.
Launched in January 2018, SVEDA includes directors from the cities of Wahpeton and Breckenridge, Minnesota, as well as Richland County, North Dakota, and Wilkin County, Minnesota.
SVEDA is currently working to increase its online profile and visibility. On Jan. 24, the organization held its first State of SVEDA Summit.
“Overall, I think it went well,” Neppl said. “We had representation from all entities that are supporting SVEDA. We had a pretty good turnout, around 30 people participating.”
While conversations were strong, Neppl continued, some ideas did not receive full attention. They include organic job growth, organic startup growth and job attraction.
“There are matters like how are we going to assess infrastructure so that when a business does call, we know exactly where we can place them,” Neppl added.
SVEDA is considering hosting two update sessions per year, in January and July. The July event may occur outside the cities of Wahpeton and Breckenridge.
Later in the meeting, Neppl shared questions from a 24-question survey distributed to area business owners. They include:
• What industry is the business in?
• Will employment increase, decrease or be flat in 2019?
• How many full-time or equivalent employees are there?
• What percentage of the employees live in Richland or Wilkin counties?
• When do you plan to exit from your business (ranking from this year to 10+ years)?
• Do you have a succession plan in place?
Director Nathan Berseth was absent from the meeting.
SVEDA’s next board meeting is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 7 at Fryn’ Pan in Wahpeton.