By Jacob Mathias
The Wisconsin Rapids Common Council approved a $20,716 contribution to the formation of a full-time president position for the Regional Economic Growth Initiative, a South Wood County no-profit group charged with fostering economic growth in the area.
“It’s a desire to have a regional entity that’s responsible for economic development,” said Adam Tegen, Wisconsin Rapids Director of Planning and Economic Development and REGI board member. “That’s encompassing not only working with our existing businesses to make sure they have what they need to stay open and to ideally expand and thrive in our community but also to be that forward-facing entity that goes out and is the public face of our region, trying to attract additional investment and companies in this area.”
Tegen said the REGI board is looking for a 3-year funding commitment from the city to get things off the ground and running.
“The goal of REGI and the new president when he is on board is to expand the funding for that entity. To bring in non-profit money and business money, utility money to try and offset any investment from the city or the other municipalities,” said Tegen.
“It’s not just Wisconsin Rapids but others are contributing to what’s decided upon how it’s going to be done,” said 4th District Alderman Thomas Rayome.
Tegen said that the region needs a full-time entity dedicated to economic development and the new REGI president should be hired on sometime in July.
“There’s a lot of pieces here and there. There’s obviously some capacity within the city, some capacity within the county…but there’s not that full-time potential,” said Tegen.
REGI was formed in 2011 out of the Incourage Community Foundation, a non-profit group working towards fund and community building in South Wood County.