By DAVID KRIER
Tourism and economic development were the main topics of conversation when the board of the Grant County Economic Development Corporation (GCEDC) held their monthly meeting in Boscobel late last Wednesday afternoon. They were hosted by Scott Teuber and his staff at Wisconsin River Outings.
“This is an exciting time for southwest Wisconsin,” said Teuber, now in his 13th season in Boscobel. “I’m feeling a change, a growing popularity in silent sports, whether it’s paddling, biking or hiking. I’m a transplant, I only spend six months of the year here, but this is an incredible place on the planet.”
Representatives from Grant County communities, the state of Wisconsin, and Boscobel businesses met in the back of Teuber’s shop, where they enjoyed a stir fry supper under half a dozen canoes suspended from the rafters. In fact, Boscobel Mayor Steve Wetter said it was the largest group he had seen at their regular monthly meetings, with 58 people in attendance.
GCEDC Executive Director Ron Brisbois announced that the Joint Finance Committee had approved $250,000 for the GCEDC to partner with Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin on a revolving business loan program.
“These funds were originally allocated to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, but due to the failures of the WEDC, we redirected funds already intended for revolving loans to a local organization with proven success,” Brisbois said. “We’re the only regional economic development organization in the state getting any money for the revolving loan fund, and I’m very proud of that.”
The Grant County Economic Development Corporation, led by Brisbois, has successfully managed 40 revolving loans and has grown their internal loan program from $160,000 to $1.3 million over the past 16 years. The GCEDC requested these funds on behalf of Prosperity Southwest Wisconsin and will work with their surrounding counties to seek opportunities to invest in business and grow jobs in Grant, Crawford, Richland, Green and Lafayette counties.
“This is an incredible opportunity for businesses and entrepreneurs in southwest Wisconsin,” said Rep. Todd Novak after the JFC vote. “These dollars have the potential to help area businesses expand and give struggling startups the assistance they need to become economic engines in our communities.”