Q&A with the Boone County Chamber of Commerce executive director


Kurt Phillips   LinkedIn photo

Broadband and housing projects in Boone County are expected to boost businesses in the area and attract families and young professionals, Kurt Phillips, executive director of the Boone County Chamber of Commerce, told Iowa Business Daily.

Question: What emerging industry in your area are you most excited about? 

Answer: Three current projects important to our area include an aggressive growth strategy to offer fiber optic service to Boone and the U.S. Highway 30 corridor; a 50-unit senior housing complex; and a hotel with a connected conference center.

Q: Why?  

A: Broadband is a great equalizer for doing business anywhere, and is often the first question from site selectors. ... It is also a prime quality of life feature to attract young families. In rural Iowa, housing developments are hard to come by. Senior housing is an indirect way to open up single-family units for first-time buyers and young professionals. The hotel and conference center will allow Boone County to recapture overnight stays, meetings and conferences that have been lost to neighboring communities, while also satisfying a need for one of our largest local employers, Fareway Stores Inc., which has contracted its usage for its ever-growing company meetings.

Q: What will you do to support that emerging industry?  

A: Our primary role has been to bring the partnerships together, and facilitate or expedite processes for any zoning or variance needs. In some cases [tax increment financing], hotel/motel and private investment funds have been used to attract business. Our ongoing support includes marketing these facilities and services regionally and working with developers on expansion opportunities in the next five to 10 years.

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