Coon Rapids joins state economic development program

The city of Coon Rapids has added another tool to its business growth and retention tool box.

The city has joined Positively Minnesota, a Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development public-private partnership that markets and promotes the state as a place to do business.

Partners include cities, counties (Anoka County is a member), regional agencies like Greater MSP, utilities and a few private sector firms, according to Marc Nevinski, city community development coordinator.

Positively Minnesota is not new – it has been around for about 10 years – but its primary focus has been marketing the state as a whole to businesses, while Greater MSP, which is a lot newer, has been focusing on the Twin Cities area, Nevinski said.

Positively Minnesota and Greater MSP are now collaborating on marketing efforts to attract businesses to the Twin Cities region, he said.

Indeed, what prompted Coon Rapids to join Positively Minnesota for a year, besides the fact that the membership fee was waived for the first year, was the opportunity to meet with a national site selector who is in the Twin Cities area this week at the invitation of Positively Minnesota, Nevinski said.

According to Nevinski, the national site selector will be in the south metro Wednesday and the north metro Thursday.

On Thursday, representatives from Anoka County and the cities of Coon Rapids and Brooklyn Park will be making presentations to the site selector and getting feedback, Nevinski said.

“There is no specific business looking to locate in the area, but it will be an opportunity to get a response from a national site selector on the strength and weaknesses of our presentation and what Coon Rapids has to offer a prospective business,” he said.

The city’s membership runs through 2014 and will be evaluated at that time to see what the benefits have been and make a decision on whether to continue membership, Nevinski said.

Besides a membership fee, Positively Minnesota also charges fees for certain events it sponsors, like trade shows,he said.

Staffing changes at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Department have resulted in the Positively Minnesota program becoming more visible, Nevinski said.

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development website, the Positively Minnesota public-private partnership works together to develop a broad-based marketing initiative to promote Minnesota and its business economy at local, regional and national venues.

Greater MSP (Minneapolis St. Paul Regional Economic Development Partnership) is a private non-profit organization dedicated to providing public and private sector leadership, coordination and engagement to grow the economy of the 16-county Minneapolis St. Paul region, its website states.

Peter Bodley is at peter.bodley@ecm-inc.com

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