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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

County economic development report focuses on youth program

Updated: Nov 3, 2023

By Charlene Sims, Journal staff

MOUND CITY – Linn County Economic Development Director Jessica Hightower updated the commissioners on economic development activities on Monday, Sept. 25.

Jessica Hightower reported that the county paid out $10,575 out of the $12,000 budgeted for the Youth Employment Grant. Ten businesses in the county employed Linn County Youth for the summer and have all turned in their reports.

Hightower explained that the Economic Development committee chooses 10 businesses every year to receive reimbursement if they hire a Linn County youth, 16 to 21 years of age, for the summer for 30 hours per week at a wage of at least $8 per hour. Linn County funds up to $1,200 per business, reimbursing $4 per hour to the businesses.

Hightower said the hope is that it gives the youth job skills and a lot of the businesses end up hiring those students on a permanent basis. Several permanent jobs have been created through that program.

Hightower told the commissioners that this program has been going on for several years and has been very successful. She said that she routinely has more applicants than she has spots to fund.

Hightower then went over a proposal she had sent to the commissioners from Pfefferkorn, the county’s contracted engineering company, to get the Linn County Industrial Park at Pleasanton listed as a certified site through the state’s certified-site program.

She said that for $48,000, Pfefferkorn will do the survey, the environmental site assessment, and site plan preparation. They will also do an access and utility plan per the Kansas Department of Commerce criteria along with community information maps and they will coordinate with the Department of Commerce’s certified site manager.

She told the commissioners that Pfefferkorn believed that this would do everything that is required from the state to make this a certified site. If the state certifies the site, the state will list it and market it to businesses looking for property.

“It’s not marketable the way it is,” said Hightower.

Hightower explained that she has been setting money aside in her budget for this for several years.

Commission Chair Danny McCullough said he would like to look at it more before signing it.

Commissioner Jim Johnson said he would like to see what the county is going to do with the airport before making any decisions.

Jessica Hightower said that she has invited the airport committee to come meet with the commissioners about ideas for the airport since no responses were received for the fixed-base operator request for proposal for the airport.

McCullough said the commission would revisit this next week after meeting with the airport committee.

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