WASHBURN COUNTY -- The Washburn County Word segment is an effective way to be able to communicate some of the things going on around the county and I’m happy to have been asked to contribute. I’m often asked what exactly the Washburn County Economic Development Corporation does. It’s a tricky question to answer succinctly, so it is my hope that every 4 weeks I’m able to offer you a bit of insight into what it is we do. Many Drydenwire readers have probably read much about what we’re doing to try to fix the broadband issue in Washburn County. I don’t want to spend every article talking about broadband, but rest assured, I will use these opportunities to keep you as up to date as I can.
One of the large issues Washburn County faces is the aging population. While on face value there are positive things that come from this, we also must look toward growth in the future. Attracting talented workers to the area is one of our focal points. To attract talented workers to the area, we may need to have other types of jobs available to them. This brings us full circle to the broadband issue that I promised I wouldn’t write about in this post. But it also brings us to a point that I’ve been hearing the last year when it comes to finding housing in the Washburn County area. Someone might be able to find a job in the area, but finding housing is not an easy task. Certainly, one can try to find houses or apartments to rent on Facebook or maybe Craigslist, or in the local classified ads. However, if you’re looking to move to this area, you may not be a member of any one of the dozen local buying and selling Facebook groups, nor will you have easy access to a local paper.
The WCEDC is now working on creating a solution that should make it easier for employers to post job openings, prospective employees to find Washburn County job openings as well as make it easier for local landlords to post available rentals and prospective renters to find them. Our website, www.washburncodevelopment.com, already has a tab dedicated to available commercial properties within the county but we are currently working on ways to add a couple of extra tabs to make a one stop shop for those that are looking at moving to the area to work, live and play. We are working on a tab that will allow member employers to post job postings on our website. Next to that tab, will be one for landlords to post apartments and homes for rent. The goal is to advertise what it is Washburn County has to offer and to make it easier for those that want to move to the area to actually do so.
While these new things are still in development, we expect them to go live soon. I encourage you to follow us on Facebook, go to our website, sign up for our newsletter, so you can be in the know when these features are ready to go.
In addition, we are encouraging the practice of placemaking. Placemaking is making your towns a place that look as good in person as they do in pictures, while offering amenities that attract families. A lovely town square with a splashpad is an example of that, and certainly in this area, we’ve heard the phrase, “work where you play.” We have been working with groups in the area to enhance and add recreational activities. There has been a proposed fat-tire bike trail in the area that keeps getting caught up in red-tape. We are partnering with local, State, and National government entities to try to resolve the issues to add this recreational activity to the area as another thing to do in a beautiful place to live, work, and play.
These are just a few of the things the WCEDC is currently working on to better the future of Washburn County.