GMDC Announces Economic Development Strategic Plan and Trailblazing Morris County Campaign

CONTACT: Tracy Henry, Executive Director, Greater Morris County Development Corporation, 785-844-0865, [email protected]

Trailblazing Morris County

(Morris County, KS) – The Greater Morris County Development Corporation (GMDC) kicked off their new Trailblazing Morris County capital campaign with invitations sent to community leaders for an event. The event was held at The Territory Ballroom on Thursday, July 28, 2022, at 4:30 p.m.

Trailblazing Morris County is GMDC’s strategic five-year plan for economic growth. The campaign had an initial goal of $1.0 million for the next five years and has had a strong start with almost $1.2 M in pledges from 38 investors across the county. A new stretch goal of $1.3 M was announced at the Kick-Off.

Campaign co-chair, Dale Jones, TCT, Inc., explains the reasoning behind the brand Trailblazing Morris County, “We have been blazing trails in the Flint Hills for over 200 years. The same passion that burned the tall grass to deepen its roots and attract prosperity still exists today as GMDC continues to blaze new trails for growth in Morris County. Our five-year plan to move forward with our Trailblazing Morris County Initiative will focus on Workforce Development, Housing, Business Growth, Community Development, and Marketing.”

President of GMDC, Steve White, Farmers and Drovers Bank, announced Trailblazing Morris County had received $1,190,250 in pledge commitments, or 119% of the original campaign goal of $1.0 million.

“The investors are making substantial commitments in helping drive our future economic growth and are committed to making Morris County a successful, competitive area for more jobs and economic prosperity. We have a diverse group of investors, including large, medium, and small businesses and individuals from across the county. All have a stake in the future of our county.” White said.

Elle White, an Executive Committee member of GMDC, reiterated the importance of supporting economic development, “Economic development in Morris County competes not only with much of Kansas but also throughout the Midwest. It is incumbent upon us to have a strategic plan and gather the resources so our county can compete.”

Trailblazing Morris County Campaign honorary co-chair Nicky Tiffany announced the name of the economic development initiative. “To aid in marketing Morris County to existing and new businesses, the GMDC Board of Directors named the economic development strategic five-year strategic plan “Trailblazing Morris County.”

This name represents the heritage of our county and a progressive approach to growing our economy,” said Tiffany.

Tracy Henry, Executive Director of GMDC, overviewed the organization’s significant results including partnering with Farmers and Drovers Bank to apply for home improvement grant assistance through the Federal Home Loan Bank. In addition, the GMDC is partnering with two housing specialists in the State to apply for Moderate Income Housing assistance to be used throughout all of Morris County. Addressing affordable housing is critical in providing the workforce Morris County needs to continue to grow and thrive. Strategies for the next five years focused on Workforce Development, Housing, Community Development, and Marketing initiatives. Henry emphasized the organization works on projects all over the county and wants to support each community in the county.

“Housing and Workforce Development are high priorities on our plate right now to enable employers to fill open positions,” said Henry.

Henry reviewed more recent economic development accomplishments, including the recent completion of a county-wide housing assessment study and embarking on a master plan with Bartlett & West Engineering for the Business Park located on Hwy 177 north of Council Grove. GMDC assisted businesses all over Morris County in recent years. Some of Trailblazing Morris County’s goals for 2023-2027 are 100 new jobs, $10 million of investment, and 125 new or rehabilitated housing units all over Morris County.

GMDC will continue working with city, county and state officials to help retain and expand existing companies and attract new business to Morris County.
GMDC is located at 315 W. Main, Council Grove, KS 66846. For information on how you can support or be involved in the Trailblazing Morris County Campaign, please contact Doug Kinsinger at 785-554-8785, [email protected].

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