Roadmap to Resources | Leadership Breakfast 02.15.23

Deb Reinbold, President and Director of Thrive Economic Development, and Brea Grace, City Planner and Senior Community Development Associate, presented “Roadmap to Resources: Leveraging Incentives to Help our Communities and Businesses Succeed” at Maranatha Baptist University’s Leadership Breakfast on February 15, 2023. Maranatha’s faculty, staff, students, and the surrounding community came together to hear Reinbold and Grace discuss available financial assistance programs that help grow businesses and the community. 

Deb Reinbold began by introducing the topic of economic development. In her position at Thrive, her purpose is to help businesses grow. This growth is accomplished through connecting businesses with the community and with financial programs that can assist them. Reinbold explained that her goal is economic growth which helps communities prosper. She then handed over the platform to Brea Grace.

Brea Grace described her role as a city planner. She told the audience about her years of experience in city planning and development work. She noted that “it’s fun to design communities, but it’s even better to build them.” Through her experience in various design and building projects, Grace has gained insight into what funding is available. Finding the right funding can be the first step into making design plans a reality.

Grace presented a list of financial options available from the government:

  1. CARES Act
  2. ARPA
  3. IIJA
  4. Inflation Reduction Act

Grace explained how Jefferson County can utilize these specific opportunities for funding. Each grant or loan provides aid for different community building projects. To demonstrate how these funds can be used by the communities of Jefferson County, Grace gave some examples of cities that have used the financial opportunities to their advantage.

She argued that the communities of Jefferson County need to attract new businesses and new residents, maintain their progress, and continually develop their business. She acknowledged that one concern in the Watertown area is the need for more affordable housing. Building in lake and river districts may be part of the solution. Grace gave five examples from surrounding communities who have utilized the land in their lake and river districts.

  1. The River District in La Crosse, WI
  2. Onalaska Downtown Great River Landing
  3. West Bend River Front
  4. Saukville Residential and Industrial Development
  5. Watertown Bentzin Family Town Square

The riverfront property has attracted new residents which boosts the economy. In Watertown, there are plans to build 2,400 new homes by 2030. Grace gave details about specific government grant and loan opportunities that communities can use for specific projects. Grace and Reinbold encouraged communities to take advantage of the financial programs available to grow every aspect of their towns, cities, and counties.

A Q&A was held after the presentation.

Download the PowerPoint here.

Watch the breakfast recording here.

Our next Leadership Breakfast will be held on March 9. Find out more here