Why EDCs Keep New Projects Secret – and How to Stay Informed Anyway

Why EDCs Keep New Projects Secret – and How to Stay Informed Anyway Main Photo

17 Jun 2024


A lot is happening in Ozark-Dale County, and residents are excited about all of the changes going on around them. Businesses are opening, employers are coming to the region, and new residents are settling into our picturesque neighborhoods. With all this growth, many people are eager to learn what’s going on and what they can look forward to. Unfortunately, we can’t always share the projects we are working on until they hit certain milestones.  

“It’s fun to share good news, but sometimes sharing can be a dealbreaker,” says Holle Smith, President of the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation (EDC). “There are several reasons why we keep information confidential until we can talk about it.”  

Learn more about the economic development process to better understand why some projects are kept under wraps and take steps to get the answers you are curious about as soon as they are available. 

Understanding the Economic Development Process

There are two important things to remember when learning about economic development: the project isn’t complete until the doors open on a new development, and most projects take several months – if not years – to complete. EDCs are often reluctant to share news because they don’t want to jeopardize the deal and disappoint residents.

For example, when Ozark-Dale County EDC recruits a retail company to the region, it isn’t as simple as pointing out an ideal location and hiring a construction firm. The company goes through an extensive research process to ensure Ozark-Dale County is a good fit, it files permits to build, and it works with landowners to purchase or rent the space. The entire process, from the very first meeting to the grand opening, can take up to 18 months or more.

“We don’t want to announce new projects early on and disappoint residents if it falls through,” says Smith. “Even projects we have been working on for more than a year still have loose ends and are risky to promote.  Site searches for industrial companies are often handled by a site selection agency, and often we do not even know the name of the company that is considering locating to our community.”

Residents Can Learn About Projects at Public Hearings

Fortunately, you don’t have to wait for new stores to open or businesses to announce hiring events to get the scoop on economic development projects in Ozark-Dale County. First, subscribe to The Southern Star. You can support local journalism and watch for any notices of public hearings.

Along with The Southern Star, Ozark-Dale County EDC publishes city council meeting agendas on the City of Ozark website. This is another great source of information to stay engaged in the local community.  

“A public hearing on project incentives is required if it involves public funding,” says Smith.

You can attend these hearings to learn about potential new companies coming to Ozark-Dale County. 

Economic Development Takes Time No Matter Where You Live 

The team at Ozark-Dale County EDC does its best to bring new businesses to the region and streamline projects, but that doesn’t mean they can be completed quickly. An 18-month timeline is common for EDCs no matter where they are located or the size of the region they represent.

Smith stated, “I frequently attend retail trade shows.  Meetings held with retailers at these shows sometimes take a year to develop into a potential project. Economic development requires patience, even though we are just as eager to see our hard work pay off and bring something new to our communities.” 

Follow Ozark-Dale County EDC to See What’s Coming Up

The team at Ozark-Dale County EDC loves how engaged residents are and eager to learn about the economic development projects coming down the pipeline. However, it is still important to keep certain plans confidential until the new business or expansion project is ready to be built. “Economic development is a marathon, not a sprint.” Great things are coming if you are willing to wait.  

To learn about all of the projects Ozark-Dale County EDC can talk about, follow our news page. We regularly post updates and share stories about local businesses. You can also keep up with us on Facebook or LinkedIn. Engaging with your local EDC is a great way to learn how Ozark-Dale County is growing and have a voice for its future.