By Dave Fidlin
Union Grove will continue its longstanding relationship with a Racine County-based organization aimed at bolstering economic activity throughout the region.
After hearing a report on activities in 2023, the Union Grove Village Board on Jan. 22 approved a $32,860 agreement with the Racine County Economic Development Corporation, or RCEDC. The agreement retroactively begins Jan. 1 and runs through the end of 2024.
RCEDC historically has worked with cities and villages throughout the county. The new agreement outlines some of the specific ways the organization will work with Union Grove officials in the year ahead through three specific initiatives.
One of the bulletin points is focused on commercial development along the Highway 11 corridor.
“Efforts will include, but are not limited to, outreach to property owners, maintaining a master list of key properties available for development and engagement with prospective project contacts,” Executive Director Jenny Trick wrote in a memo to the village.
RCEDC also will continue working with the village on redevelopment projects and business attraction in the downtown corridor.
“Efforts will include, but are not limited to, conducting an annual walk of the downtown to meet with business owners, sending out a mailing to property owners, maintaining a master list of vacant properties and engaging with businesses interested in a downtown location,” Trick wrote.
The third bullet point focuses on the so-called “Gorman property.” The 43-acre site is located on the eastern gateway into the community on Highway 11.
“Efforts will include, but are not limited to, quarterly engagement with the property owner and outreach to real estate brokers, developers and business prospects,” Trick wrote.
Laura Million, deputy director with the RCEDC, attended the Jan. 22 meeting and shared with the Village Board some of the highlights from the past year within Union Grove.
Throughout the year, Million said RCEDC provided 15 Union Grove businesses with technical assistance. Throughout the county, RCEDC assisted 264 businesses with the service.
“Assistance included connecting entrepreneurs to provide start-up resources and business plan support, providing grant and financial program overviews, providing initial site search support, introducing businesses to talent and HR support and introductions to bank and business partner resources,” Million said.
Additionally, Million said RCEDC performed outreach to 18 Union Grove-based businesses through calls and walks through the downtown commercial district. RCEDC also reached out to industrial businesses in the village through a snail mail campaign.
Throughout the past year, Million indicated RCEDC provided specific incentives, loans and grants to four Union Grove-based businesses: Just Brew It, Cnalp Gallery, Top Paws and T’Mac’s Saloon.
RCEDC also is managing an already-in-place revolving loan fund that was installed years ago to help local businesses launch within the community.
The loan fund has assisted such local businesses as Terri’s Touch, Neon Moon and Pine Acres.