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January/February 2023

As Ellen is retiring from this job, she is just doing to the basics for MCP4G like email, mail, website and jobsite updates, taking calls and helping as needed, and finishing up the membership drive until they can get someone on board.  The board is busy interviewing for the new hire. 
November / December Year-End Highlights 2022

We had our Annual Event at the Lee Dam Center and since Ellen is closing this chapter in her life, she shared some of the highlights of her work.  

The Theme of the Event was “Marshall County Moving Forward.”  Some highlights were the three awards given to two businesses and a city. Blue Valley Telecommunications received an award for Outstanding Progress for Moving the County Forward through Connectivity. Landoll received the Power of an Employee to Move the County Forward Award. Economic Impact Studies show that with an average of 850 employees, Landoll Company brings 1.5 million dollars in economic impact to the county annually for every 20 jobs. That's almost 64 million dollars a year in direct and indirect economic imapct!  Blue Rapids received the Most Proactive City Moving Marshall County Forward for the amazing amount of change under Mayor Zayas. What a joy to celebrate these successes!


This year has brought some exciting developments:


Housing –

  • We visited all the city councils to share best practices to spur housing. This included policies and incentives each city can use to start up its own housing. This white paper includes how to start using prefab housing that is more affordable and has been used and tested by other cities.

  • Our Board developed the Infill Housing Revitalization Program – This program gives a 10 year, 100% rebate to those who will build new housing in an empty lot with existing infrastructure based on their city’s designated area. The commissioners are working on passing it this January.

  • We worked on securing American Rescue Plan money for new housing and daycare from the county.  They committed 100k of the ARPA money for each. 


Business Retention and Expansion –

  • We helped 5 businesses with a 0% interest loan for the first year. The 10k loans were given out for start-ups, to buy an existing business, or to get equipment for a present business.

  • Kan Equip purchased our business park land for their expansion.

  • MCP4G advised at least 23 new businesses on their start-up plans this past year. That’s a record. These new businesses will add over a million dollars in annual economic impact to our county. According to a recent impact study, every 20 employees equals a minimum of 1 million in economic multipliers to the county.

  • We found new property for local businessman in Marysville as his property sold in order to expand One Gas.


Business Attraction – This year we were able to bring in Nelson Industrial from NE. This food distribution company will build a warehouse, hire nine employees and run six semi’s a day. They are situated a mile east of Marysville. They will bring in nearly a half million in economic impact annually.


Workforce – We continue to “Hire Here First” with our popular county-wide job site.


Grants and Regional Recognition

  • MCP4G and Riverside Market Flower and Grocery Store in Blue Rapids, presented our start-up story at the National Grocery Summit in Wichita.

  • MCP4G submitted a nomination for Landoll Company’s growth and patents, and they received the Regional Innovation Award from the Department of Commerce.

  • Waterville Lake Idlewild Trail and Nature Center is pending an $188,000 Trail Grant we prepared for the city.

  • Pending the start of expanding 11th Terrace in 2023, a $408,000 grant will be awarded the county from Kansas Department of Transportation.

  • Four county businesses are awaiting to hear about $12,500 awards for the SEED grant we oversaw and submitted for them.


It’s exciting to see we have been able to bring a wonderful return on investment to our communities. This was accomplished through the public, private partnership MCP4G has with all of you and our county. It is estimated that over the past seven years through grants, tax credits, and new infrastructure, we have been able to bring well over two million dollars into Marshall County. That’s not including our work to get cities signed up for the Community Development Block Grants which brings in millions yearly. If we add the work we did with forty-two new business start-ups the past 3 years alone, it would add another two million to the local economy!

Economic development is key in the county to help it growth and keep our population numbers consistent.  We are excited about the new director who will be taking Ellen's place and the value they will bring to the county. 

Director’s Highlights – October 2022


After the Board Meeting, I finished up with submitting 4 Marshall County business to the SEED grant which will allow them to split $50,000 for 12,500 each for their individual projects. They needed a non-profit economic development organization like ours to be able to submit this. There were 2 from Frankfort in the Daycare and Senior Care category, and one from Blue Rapids and another from Summerfield , both in in the Food Retail category.


I am on the downhill with the Waterville Lake Idle Wild Recreational Trail Grant. That means a lot of compiling data, writing and rewriting. There is collecting estimates and estimating trail costs with number of feet and where it would be placed. There is a bridge to be built. There is a shelter that needs repair, and a new restroom for the property. There are also some time consuming asks with this grant that involve property lines and easements. Just a few more weeks to be ready! This grant could really give Waterville a great outdoor asset that will be used far and wide. On the 4th, I talked with Lisa Moser about providing a support letter.


The next two weeks were all working on the grant, the online Job Site, and on the 13th a zoning meeting with the city of Marysville in hopes of finding the right zoning plan for Hooyer to move into the neighborhood.


On the 14th, I am meeting with the state representative who helps people with grant mapping, etc. The USDA representative will join us, and hopefully that will fill in some of the gaps we have on the technical side.


I was concerned with the Annual Meeting Event being so close and me needing to be out on a trip the 17-21. I contacted all involved to see if we could move it to the 29th of November and it looks feasible. I have been working the BVT on the program and starting to prepare our progress presentation “Marshall County Moving Forward” update.


Anita Welch and I will present to the commissioners regarding the housing idea discussed at our last Board Meeting. We have moved it to the 24th, and she is preparing a marketing idea for housing with the idea of asking for ARPA money for a revolving loan fund that would allow people to receive a down payment, and therefore their first home.


As I get back, it is board meeting week, and I will need to get a Newsletter out with our date for the Annual Meeting and how to RSVP. I need to write a press release for the newspapers as well.

Director’s Highlights – September 2022

The 1st of September started with Employee Party that Landoll threw for their cost share announcement. It was really neat to be invited and see all the shifts together and hear the speeches. Some people have committed a lifetime to work at Landoll and making it the company it is.

That evening, a group of us met at Lake Idlewild to talk to the Advocate for a story about its restoration and the new trails that the RTP grant award could bring.

2 nd – I met with a commissioner to discuss housing.

6th - Met with the commissioners and two others from Waterville for funding for taking Idlewild Park. Had a meeting with a landowner over a property site in which we could interest an outside company.

Had an executive meeting regarding the Business property.

7 th – Toured site property for an outside company.

Met at Empty Cup with a team from Summerfield. Recommended the SEED grant, plus other ideas.

9 th – Worked on a contract for a property sale.

Worked on bringing in the new, outside company to build on county property, as city property did not work out. He is now working to purchase from the owner.

Worked on Jail Site grant issue for the new 11th Terrace road.

12th Met with all the commissioners and John Shea who is the new North Central Regional Planning Commission Director taking the place of Doug McKinney. We went over some of the strong involvement the Commission has in the county.

13th- Worked on getting some new property for a local company that needed to expand to a different area in town.

Worked on Annual Meeting event planning.

14th Followed up on RHID planning.

15th Worked on the Recreational Trail Grant most of the day, and several days afterward

16th Pony Express Museum needed help with grant funding, so I prepared them some ideas they can work on now.

Worked with a local company on finalizing property he liked that I was able to show him, and worked on figuring out the zoning. He is moving ahead with the owner.

17th - Grant work for Waterville.

18th – The ARPA SEED grant, which allows for $50k to be split between businesses in the county, was accessed by 4 businesses in the county and P4G is the only one that can submit for them, so I have just over a week to input it all online into the application.

22nd – Deed Office work for titles and leases for the Waterville grant. This is leading to more research at the Appraiser’s office.

Rest of month – 26th - Board Meeting and Newsletter.


Director’s Highlights – August 2022


This month saw the last visits to Oketo, Beattie, and Axtell to include them in the Infill Housing Revitalization Program. The towns were open to applying to become a part of the county project.


I asked several others in the county if they would like to learn about Hometown Housing Solutions that I had been invited to hear about.  We met in Blue Springs and met about six of the team from this housing group that has been very successful in IA. Those of us from Marshall County felt that approaching our commissioners would be a good first step because the program can include the entire county, which would be a fantastic plus.


I had a call with the CC3-D housing developer bringing 3-D printed housing into the state who is doing a community project in Valley Center, KS. We are going to stay in touch.


I got confirmation from the city council in Waterville that they would sign the Recreational Trail Grant’s maintenance agreement and commit long-term to the Idle Wild restoration if we got this Recreational Trail Grant. So much work and effort have gone into this project. It will be great to see it go forward!


On the 10th of August, I showed our Business Park property and several other properties to an outside company. I was joined by a Partnership member and city representative who could answer utility questions. This company is interested in the county’s opportunities.


Worked on the Idlewild Trail Grant.


Worked on the Rural Housing Incentive District request.


Worked on a separate Waterville Grant.


Attended the BTV Celebration party at Blue Rapids for the finish of the fiber to the town. It was a great experience with wonderful food from Riverside Market.


Went to the school board meeting in Waterville to address the Wilson Fund as a match to the Trails Grant.


Met with a commissioner in the south end of the county regarding: housing.


Will attend NCRPC in Minneapolis this month as we meet with our state representatives.

Director’s Highlights – July 2022


I finished out the last week of June with a meeting with the commissioners on the 27th, a meeting with the Lake Idle Wild Committee, and a meeting with the City of Waterville’s council. I worked with a local company regarding a tax abatement situation.


On the 11th, I worked with Transition Plus on a situation, and then met with the Axtell city council about the County Infill Housing Revitalization Program.

Took a week's vacation. 


I worked on the Idle Wild Grant quite a bit this month. Even took a Sat. a.m. to walk the property with USDA support, Brandon Wilson, as well as my husband, and see where the trails would be placed. This ended up helping me better write the grant. We ended up finding some ways to save money and adjust the trail and get it done in one year at a better usage footprint. It also helped me realize the north bridge is over a very large creek, not a “low water” place.


I got a call from an outside warehouse company interested in Business property in Marshall County. There was a lot of information to share and work up. They plan to come to see the property. 


Finished the Annual Downtown Redevelopment Act Reports for Blue Rapids and Frankfort participants.


On the 13th, I attended the Vermillion City Council meeting and introduced them to the County Infill Housing Revitalization Program.


Got a map from the Appraiser’s Office and redrew the trail's map with USDA’s help.


Attended the meeting for the introduction of the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, whom I know from working with Marshall’s office. Bowers and Moser were there and I and the audience and addressed some concerns.


Worked with a property sale.


Worked on a situation with rezoning and possible annexation.


Director’s Highlights June


Finished out May. Attended the Memorial Service and laid a wreath for MCP4G.


Attended the Commissioner’s Meeting on the 31st about the passing of the Infill Housing Revitalization Program


June – Continued work on the setup of the Lake Idlewild bids and grant prep. Talking with grant administration and how to get 3 bids on the trail.


Took pictures and processed pictures from others of the Riverside Market and Mustang Motors for the Grocery Summit Presentation. Got the presentation ready.


Turned in Presentation Slides through Dropbox for the National Rural Grocery Summit that Jan Bergkamp and I are presenting at on the 21st. Prepared a backup.


Set up a meeting (3x due to cancellations) for a developer to come to the county. Visited with Randy Speaker, the Commerce Housing Specialist again about our county and housing.


Met with the KC housing developer and showed him a downtown property, the Watertower Place, and Keystone Addition, along with Frankfort’s shovel-ready property with the Moderate Income Housing (MIH) infrastructure already in. Met with the mayor of Frankfort and the president of the Care Home to discuss options about that property.


Worked with and researched grants for a new business in the healthcare field.


Attended the 2022 VAD Academy, Vacant and Dilapidated Webinar, on housing on the 15th for ideas on how to work with our county on this issue. Free and put on by the Center for Community Progress.


Worked on the website improvement page with research items to be ready to meet with the group who is willing to help with graphics on the 17th.


20th and 21st - Attended the Wichita National Rural Grocery Summit and was a speaker in the breakout workshop on New Models in Grocery Stores/Success Stories.


Plan to meet with Angie Armstrong on the Smart Towns Initiative that Blue Valley is doing (23rd).


Went to the Commissioner’s meeting on the 27th to update on the Downtown Redevelopment Act and progress with the Infill Housing Revitalization Program.


Director’s Highlights May 2022

Finished out the last couple of days of April -

  • Attended RSVP open house for the retirement of Joni Spellmeier. She was good at sending over grants she found that may work for us. 

  • Worked on Lake Idlewild details - Waterville

  • Contract details - Marysville

  • Worked on Daycare for Marysville

  • *Wrote Commerce that the last SHOVL incentive was not helpful to rural, and that got me a call from the KS Commerce Housing Specialist and the Lt. Governor to see how they could help.

May 2 - Attended Summerfield’s Council Meeting - Introduced the housing Initiative and explained the new infill housing Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  

May 3 - May 5 - *From my email a few days before, Randy Speaker, a Housing Specialist came to visit the county.  I set up a tour in Frankfort at the MIH site by FCCH, in Blue Rapids for all the infill, and in Marysville for a couple of sites.  He said he is going to work on getting us some developers. 

May 9 - Attended the Frankfort Council Meeting and introduced the Housing Initiative and talked about the new infill housing Neighborhood Revitalization Program.  I explained the MIH site and developer interest.  

May 10 - Talked with a concerned citizen about the lack of independent senior housing.   

May 11 - Met with 3rd commissioner over lunch.  Two Partnership members joined me.  We had a constructive conversation about the new NRP we would like to see passed. 

Talked with a housing production company about the costs of a small footprint house.  

16th - Had our meeting with the commissioners about the new NRP.  It went well, but the main concern was the additional work for the staff.  Later, I talked with the chair and suggested ARPA money be used to hire for that.  She liked that idea and said she would suggest it. 

May 17 - Attended the KS Housing Webinar to hear explanations of the money coming in for housing this year.   

Worked on the property contract.

May 18 -  Attended the Blue Rapids Council Meeting to explain the Housing Initiatives, the new NRP, and the new money coming for housing.  The theme for cities is to get ready.  

May 19 and 20 - Helped a Frankfort teacher with census info for a school grant, and worked with a man starting his own business in the county.  

May 20 - Answered questions for Axtell on the new NRP and Housing Initiatives.  

May 23 - Working on Downtown Redevelopment Act reports - Frankfort and Blue Rapids.

May 26 - Will attend the NCRPC meeting because the new President asked me to address the board regarding: my concern that with all the new gov housing funding, NCRPC will be inundated with new housing grant requests without having the capacity to handle them.  How can we move money from the budget to hire subcontractors or remote workers?

Director’s Highlights, April 2022


Finished out March - 24th – 31st.


I worked on the contract with Meghan Voracek regarding: the Business Park Sale.


Researched an Energy Grant for use with the Housing Effort REEP/Will not work


Updated the website


Talked with another local daycare manager about a local building.


Worked with Frankfort Community Care Home to confirm MIH restrictions on housing property.


Set up Grocery Summit acceptance to speak at the conference.


Talked with the trail planner for the Lake Idlewild project


Went to the NCRPC Board meeting in Beloit.


April 1 – 27


Worked with Waterville on Foundation research for the trail grant


Visited with Tom Parker about documenting the housing effort with OTB. 


Continued contract work Re: Business Park


Started an article for the Advocate and Frankfort Area News on the Housing Policy and Incentives effort. Set up Blue Valley Telecommunications to help us document the OTB build.


Worked with Summerfield on a project to get their State ARPA monies.


Attended the Business Award Luncheon for Landoll recognition in Manhattan.  MCP4G nominated Landoll and they won the Regional Award for most Innovative company.  They will compete at the State level in Topeka next month. 


Attended the Waterville Council Meeting and explained housing efforts across the county. We also reported on our work with the Lake re: my work with the team to figure out the bore and measurements to start getting an estimate.


Met with Austin St. John and Jason Barnes to get their buy-in for the Housing Effort. They are encouraged by it and wanted to attend the next meeting with the commissioners on the NRP exclusively for housing.


I started the 990-EZ for our taxes. This is quite a process.


Had several conversations regarding Blue Rapids' readiness for the first OTB project.


Spoke with the state’s rep for the NRP and how to set up a new one for housing.


Wrote and submitted newspaper articles about the Landoll Regional Innovation Business Award.


7:00 am. Executive council meeting. We discussed an MCP4G contract with several changes which I wrote up and submitted to the attorney. We worked on the new housing NRP that we want to submit to the commissioners which would be an Infill Housing Revitalization Program to spur county housing.  I will submit the development of the proposal at the Board Meeting on the 27th.

Director’s Highlights March 2022


I finished out February month with helping the remaining entry with the Base Grant application.


The HEAL downtown grant was now done, and I just found out that Amy Shum in Marysville did receive the grant that I helped her with and this includes renovating 2 apartments above her new floral shop. She was the only local business to receive the HEAL.


I attended the NCRPC board meeting over Zoom on Feb. 24.


I met with some new members to discuss the idea of promoting a strategic housing plan that would spur housing county-wide, and how to promote it and get buy-in.


I met with an individual from Waterville that desires to build affordable housing. He believes a cost share for a demo situation would go a long way in cleaning up the lots to prepare them for housing.


I attended a Rural Housing Incentive District and a Landbank webinar this month.


Discussed the legal process for selling some property with a local member realtor.  He advised we use the county's former attorney. I got a quote from them and moved forward.  


I attended the Commissioner’s Meeting on March 14th for the signing of the Cost Share Grant to receive the funding. I again advocated for using local contractors for the project road, and they agreed to do that.


Wrote a newspaper article on our new Board and future projects were mentioned with housing and daycare.


Finished document for unified incentives and policies that can spur county housing. Included is the start of affordable housing hopefully originating in Blue Rapids or another member city. 


Attended the Annual Chamber Meeting and the Legislative Meeting at Landoll Lanes on Saturday the 19th. I publicly thanked Moser and Bowers for the support letters to the Cost Share Grant and let them know we received the Marysville/county grant.


Met with Army Corps Engineer and the Waterville team working on the Lake Idlewild project on March 21 to figure out the best/cheapest way to drain the lake.


I researched using the Energy Grant from USDA for the OTB housing as an incentive.


Will attend a meeting with Mayor Zayas of Blue Rapids on March 22 regarding the County-wide Housing Initiative and a briefing on his visit to see the OTB housing.


Landoll will be receiving an award from the Dept of Commerce which I nominated them for earlier in the year.


Plan to attend the webinar for Housing from the Census on the 22nd which could be helpful for the Housing Needs Assessment for the RHID.


Board Meeting Wed. the 23rd.


I plan to attend the NCRPC Board Meeting on the 31st. They are still hiring a new director.

Director’s Highlights January 2022


  • I resubmitted a request to Evergy for a membership fee. This is a new online system and much more intensive. The last try didn’t go through.


  • Talked with another resident in Axtell about the grocery store going out of business there. They needed ideas on grants and a restart.


  • Marysville is applying for a grant to do the 7th Street Corridor and asked for other grants to help with the match the city must apply for. I spent a day researching grant ideas and was able to give them about 6 good options.


  • The Rural Grocery Summit is this Spring and asked for presenters who had experience in grocery startup. I filled out the form that may include the store manager and myself in being part of the presentation of a workshop for those wanting to find creative ways to add a rural store to their area. This would give our Eco Devo organization some great exposure.


  • I worked with a Frankfort resident on grants for their Downtown building restoration.


  • Worked with an out-of-state housing investor on plans for this Spring to bring new housing to Marshall County.


  • Set up city council appointments for Feb. and started educating mayors on the Rural Housing Incentive District idea.


  • Provided another grant idea for the Alcove Springs Historical Trust project.


  • Worked with a family who want to start a new business in Blue Rapids.


  • Worked with Childcare Aware KS re: starting a daycare in Marysville and one in Summerfield. Setting up a day an agent can look over the buildings that could be used.


  • Visited with two different people about the revolving loan fund and that it may go quickly.


  • Attended the Summerfield Open House for those who helped the former school get revitalized. They have made some good progress with their 2 employees. Both just recovered from covid.

       They want to start a daycare in the building. The Border Restaurant has a new manager and things are going well!

Director’s Highlights and Year-End Growth Summary  December 2021 

As it is the end of the year, I was going through some Jan. 2016 items, which is when I was hired six years ago.  It was encouraging to see the financial progress we have made since then.  

Budget Growth At the end of 2015, our Proposed budget was under 20k.  $19,501 to be exact.  Our expenses were budgeted at $17,538.  At the close of 2021, our 2022 budget is $84,987.  Our expenses look to be about $77,889.  Our budget/capacity has grown 4x or by $65,486 in 6 years. 

In county support we went from $5,000 a year to 50,000 a year.  This next year, we have $55,000 a year.  We also have the residual 20k in the budget item line the commissioners are willing to use for economic development.  Last year, this extra eco devo budget was approved for the new 0% Revolving Business Loan of 25k.  We won a Covid grant for $15k to boost it to 40k.  We got our first 10k loan given out in 2021.   This is a great new tool for the county.  

Membership Growth - Our membership dues in 2015 were $18,690.  Our dues are not all in yet this year, but are budgeted at $25,225 based on last year.  That’s a membership growth of $6,535.   Grants have grown much more.  As of last year we had $10,500 mostly from Evergy and Guise-Weber.  In 2015, grants were not being utilized. 

Grant Growth:  This has been a steady growth the past 3 years.  We won the tax credit of $300,000 for Transition Plus in 2019.  We won over $400k in grants in 2020 during the covid reimbursements.  The covid grants were different this year so I didn’t have to do so much grant writing, but I concentrated on the Cost Share especially.  Grants we won this year included: 

  • $300 for Transition Plus from Casey’s Foundation,

  • $25,000 “Play Space” Grant from the Topeka Children’s Discovery Center.  

  • $7,000 from Evergy for the Economic Impact Study on our Business Parks  

  • $3,000 from Guise-Weber for the Impact Study,  

  • $25k grant to Blue Rapids for Business Tech Assistance

  • $13,300 for assistance for the Pony Express Barn to receive to make up for tourism losses during the pandemic. 

  • $408,262   Cost Share Grant for Marysville 11th Terrace Build 

Total for this year: $481,862.00 added value to county

Other highlights to note in 2021:  

  • Verizon has committed to a communications tower in Frankfort and building is commencing when they can get a contractor in.  (Worth $250k to area)

  • Major Housing Study in Blue Rapids is finished (the Housing Assessment Tool or HAT) which I managed and contributed to.  They can now apply for a housing grant in 2022.

  • I finished out 3 years of helping with Transition Plus.  They have hired 2 new employees and are building the outdoor greenhouse with the tax credits MCP4G helped them achieve for business startup capacity.   

  • I wrote multiple support letters for grants around the county, some of which were awarded, but not counted as part of the county value.  

Other things I finished up this month:

  • We had an early Board meeting in Nov. so on the 18th I did a KNDY interview that aired on their stations, on the 22nd we had the first set up of the Pop-Up store.   Decorated the front window and talked through issues with the vendors and they set up a lot in anticipation of Saturday’s opening. 

  • Worked on FB posts to promote the store with Kate Tommer/Chamber&Main Street.  We hung our banners for P4G and the Chamber in the store.  I was there Sat a.m. to help open the store.  The day went well with good traffic!  

  • I met with a local business man and an investor to discuss housing work. 


  • Evergy has a new application for membership asks.  I worked on it, but it didn’t go through.  Checking why.  

  • Processed renewal and new memberships as they came in.  New so far: Hall Brothers - Doing a highlight of them in the newsletter.  


  • I did troubleshooting for the Pop-Up Store.  Went well without me having to be there much after the set up. 

  • Worked on Zillow issue with Nic’s help. Researched the FEMA flood plain land.  Since they own the land, they will not resell it back.  Marysville has tried all options to no avail.

  • Provided a grant support letter of nomination for the Alcove Spring Historical Trust’s building for the HEAL grant, Blue Rapids.  


  • Did the December KNDY interview and focused on the Cost Share Win/Jail and Business Park, as well as the Pop-up Store.  

  • Provided technical support on the grant process and a support letter of nomination for the HEAL Grant for the expanding business Farmer and Floral, Marysville. 

  • Attended a key meeting in Beloit regarding the hiring of the NCRPC Interim Director, and the hiring of Next Move Ec. Dev. Group as a headhunter. 


  • Visited with a Japanese company that is interested in growing foreign business into Marshall County or the Northeast region and manufacturing.   

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