President Lisa Riggs said Tuesday the Lancaster County Economic Development Corporation has supported 100 farm businesses and operations with capital investment totaling $226 million since the spring of 2020.

The money came through EDC Finance Corp., Riggs said at the organization’s annual breakfast. , which has worked with more than 20 local financial institutions. This was the EDC’s first in-person annual meeting since the COVID-19 pandemic swept the globe, temporarily closing businesses. About 340 attended.

At a breakfast held at the Lancaster Marriott in Bain Square, Riggs took the opportunity to celebrate the county’s Economic Development Organization’s achievements during the pandemic and give an idea of ​​where it’s headed in the future.

Riggs said the finance corporation is leading the state in supporting first-time farmers who fund their first agricultural operations.

EDC Finance has registered 43 next-generation loans to farmers in the past 32 months, she said.

Since spring 2020, EDC has actively worked with 32 of the county’s 60 municipalities on 150 retention, attraction or expansion projects, often serving as a neutral intermediary between the municipality and the developer. In the process of working on development projects, Riggs said, EDC has been involved with 31 different water and wastewater operators or agencies in the county.

EDC has been linked with schools, colleges and libraries while working with the Lancaster STEM Alliance to develop a roadmap for broadband in the district.

“We have cleaned up a database of 1,100 parcels as we continue to raise concerns about the availability of industrial land in our county and the ability to support local manufacturers to stay and grow here,” Riggs said.

After breakfast, Riggs explained that the parcels were removed from the EDC data after a thorough review.

“We reviewed them to assess their viability for industrial use based on several factors, including topography, zoning, infrastructure/road access and surrounding uses,” she said in an email. “The vast majority of these parcels were then discussed with municipalities to understand their point of view, which is an additional measure of their suitability for development.”

Riggs said the organization responded to more than 100 inquiries from site pickers seeking information about the province in general or specific sites within its borders.

Riggs said economic development work continued even as the Economic Development Commission joined with the Lancaster Chamber in leading the response to the pandemic.

In addition to the significant psychological impact of unifying the business community in the spring and summer of 2020, the Center for Business Development has provided 8,000 businesses with personal protective equipment and distributed $49 million in state, county and city grant money to nearly 2,000 businesses, Riggs said. The distribution “affected every municipality in Lancaster County,” Riggs said.

Riggs noted that more funding was provided in Lancaster County than comparable organizations in Bucks, Chester, Delaware or Montgomery counties in their respective communities.

Riggs credits the staff and the EDC Board for success during the pandemic.

She has broadly defined the future of the organization, which she said is among the most powerful economic development organizations in the state. The center has recently adopted a three-year strategic plan. The organization is dealing with the retirements of employees in 2021 and the recent resignations of Regional Center for Analysis President Naomi Young and Vice President Lyle Hosler. Young moved to another position in another economic development organization and Haussler left due to changes in his life.

In 2021, Jan Rerig (Operations Director) and Randy Johnston (Director of Lending at EDC and EDC Finance) retired after serving at EDC for 26 and 10 years, respectively. In the wake of Reyrig’s departure, Amanda Musso was promoted to Director, Management and Membership, a new title for the position. However, Johnston continues to consult with the organization and train many new employees.

Riggs said after breakfast that the EDC is still running through the Young and Husler transformations. She said that the Economic Development Committee expects to reorganize it internally in exchange for replacing these positions in kind.

Riggs noted EDC’s work on Previously announced the redevelopment Former McGuinness Airport in Columbia. In July, the Commonwealth Finance Corporation approved a $3.3 million grant and $5 million loan to develop McGinness Innovation Park at the former airport off Manor Street south of the Columbia Borough Fire Department.

She also noted EDC’s partnership with Lancaster City Alliance to support the development of the City’s Revitalization Investment District, and to provide funds for its revolving loan fund.

Riggs said a $5 million loan fund is expected to support small businesses in the county in 2023.

“We’re continuing the path and increasing our focus even more on businesses that are based here in Lancaster County,” Riggs said.

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