Grow Fairfield Responds to Housing Need, Acquires 35-Acres for New Housing

 

FAIRFIELD, IOWA (August 10, 2023) Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association (formerly FEDA) is pleased to announce it has acquired a 35-acre site to be developed for a new residential subdivision. This strategic procurement aligns with the recent housing study carried out in partnership with the City of Fairfield Housing Task Force. The study underscores a demand for a minimum of 220 new housing units in the upcoming decade. 

Located in the southern entrance to Fairfield, just West of Jefferson County Health Center and adjacent to the recently established Cambridge Little Achievers Center, the 35-acre site to be named, Sunrise Trail Subdivision, occupies a strategic position for new workforce housing and is expected to support 30-40 new housing units. 

The recently completed housing study highlights ‘workforce’ and ‘middle’ housing as one of the critical priorities within our community. In response, the new residential subdivision will primarily focus on fostering these housing types. The initiative aligns with a developing comprehensive strategy to meet the diverse housing needs in the community, including a priority of retaining and growing a robust workforce. 

Grow Fairfield’s acquisition entails collaborative agreements with the new Cambridge Little Achievers Center for a future access drive to the site, and upon request, the City of Fairfield extended partial financing support, approving a repayable $200,000, zero-percent loan to Grow Fairfield for the acquisition, reaffirming housing as a top priority for growing Fairfield. 

Curtis Smith, Board President of Grow Fairfield, said,  “This acquisition aligns with our strategic goal of spearheading housing initiatives. With our collaborative partnerships, our objective is to reduce the entry barriers for builders, and aspiring homeowners as much as possible. We extend our deepest appreciation to the City of Fairfield and Cambridge Little Achievers Center for their support in this pivotal phase.”  

Site and infrastructure planning will begin this fall.

About Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association:
Celebrating 45 years, Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association is a public-private partnership committed to fostering sustainable economic growth, innovation, and community development in the greater Fairfield and Jefferson County area. Through collaborative partnerships and visionary initiatives, Grow Fairfield strives to create a resilient and forward acting community that attracts investment, cultivates a healthy business climate, and improves the overall quality of life for residents. 

 

Media Contact:
Joshua Laraby, Executive Director
joshua.laraby@growfairfield.com
641.472.3436

Laraby Named to the Professional Developers of Iowa Board of Directors

FAIRFIELD/DES MOINES, IOWA (July 11,2023) Joshua Laraby, Executive Director of Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association (Grow Fairfield), has been named to the distinguished Board of Directors of the Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI.) Laraby’s appointment to the PDI Board of Directors highlights his exceptional leadership and impact on fostering collaboration, strengthening area communities, and driving economic growth in Iowa.

The Professional Developers of Iowa (PDI) has been at the forefront of economic development since its establishment in 1973. With a diverse membership of nearly 300, the cross section of professional disciplines span from, state, county, regional and local developers, utility providers, legal and financial firms, universities, community colleges, engineering and construction firms, and rail and transportation companies. As a state association, PDI leverages the collective expertise of its members to inform on economic development policy, provide continuing educational opportunities, and enhance the competitiveness of Iowa’s economic landscape.

Kay Snyder, President of the PDI Board, remarked, “We are delighted to welcome Josh to the Board of Directors. His thoughtful approach, experience, and track record of accomplishment make him a valuable addition to the PDI Board. His insights and contributions will help forward the PDI mission of strengthening communities and driving the long-term growth of Iowa.”

In addition to beginning his role on the Board of Directors last month, Laraby has also been an engaged member of PDI since 2016.

Laraby said, “Being named to the Professional Developers of Iowa Board of Directors is an tremendous honor and opportunity. PDI has been a very valuable part of my professional development and has provided strong support for growing Fairfield. I am thrilled and humbled to join a diverse group of esteemed economic development professionals dedicated to advancing Iowa’s long-term economic growth. I look forward to serving the PDI membership in a new capacity.”

For more information about the Professional Developers of Iowa and its commitment to economic development in Iowa, please visit www.pdiowa.com

Bovard Studios Brings Stained-Glass and Commercial Framing Capabilities to Weaton Companies Architectural Products Portfolio

The Bovard Studios team designs, fabricates, and installs new stained-glass windows and restores existing stained-glass installations in historic buildings.

*Press Release shared by Weaton Companies

FAIRFIELD, IA – March 31, 2023 Weaton Companies announced today that they have acquired Bovard Studios, Inc., an award-winning provider of products and services to create, restore and preserve stained-glass windows in sacred and historic buildings across the US. Both companies are based in Fairfield, Iowa.

Bovard Studios was formed in 1985 and currently operates out of a 45,000 square foot production facility where artisans and production teams meticulously create and restore custom architectural and ecclesiastical stained-glass windows. Their team of consultants, artists, fabricators, and installers plus the company’s patented window framing and glazing system have earned them many awards including the prestigious Lucy G. Moses Preservation Award in 2020.

Nate Weaton, CEO of Weaton Companies explains the synergy between Bovard Studios and other Weaton companies. “Much of our purpose is serving the needs of the industrial, architectural and construction communities and a core skill of our team is efficiently delivering complex, custom projects. Adding custom stained-glass and commercial framing capabilities to our family of branded products just made sense.”  Weaton Companies Logo

While Bovard Studios will continue to operate independently, their sister companies Creative Edge, Terrazzo Tek and Honeycorr will enhance Bovard’s ability to serve its customers by supplying advanced manufacturing capabilities and a streamlined operational process. As a Weaton company, Bovard Studios will also benefit from dynamic supplemental leadership and access to capital for system improvements and future facility investment.

When asked about the future promise of the new partnership, Weaton said “We are excited to complement the passionate work of Ron and Fran Bovard and the entire team. Our combined efforts will assure a growing commitment to the preservation of America’s stained-glass heritage and enhance Weaton Companies ability to serve as a premier supplier of custom projects to the architecture and design community.”

Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

About Weaton Companies

Weaton Companies is a diversified Iowa manufacturer that delivers flexible, creative, and innovative solutions to the end markets they serve through their family of independent manufacturing brands. Weaton Companies are focused on operational excellence and innovation and committed to the welfare of our community. The people who work at Weaton Companies are energized, empowered, and responsive to customer needs. The companies that join our family are aligned with our values and poised
for growth.

For immediate release

Contact: Nate Weaton, CEO, Weaton Companies
Phone: 641.209.7598 Email: nate.weaton@weatoncompanies.com

Contact: Jim Thompson, VP, Weaton Companies
Phone: 815.715.8315 Email: jim.thompson@weatoncompanies.com

City & Grow Fairfield Seek Input on Housing Needs with Community Survey

Please Participate in the Survey by (Extended to December 11th)

www.growfairfield.com/housingsurvey

The City of Fairfield and Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association have formed a task force and are partnering to conduct a housing needs study and are asking for the community’s input to identify what type of housing is needed in the area through a short assessment survey.

“The survey is an important step in the process, and I encourage everyone to take part. High participation will allow us to get the most accurate data possible. We’re seeking a healthy cross-section from the community, including individuals who rent, who own homes, who are working or retired, and of all income levels,” said City Council Member Paul Gandy.

The survey questions inquire about current accommodations and anticipated future housing needs. All responses are anonymous. Results will be compiled by Iowa State University Extension. Key findings will guide the task force in the formation of an action plan for improving quality and accessibility. 

Gandy, who also serves as the Chair of the Housing Task Force, added, “Even if you do not plan to make a change in your housing or you work here but live outside the County, we encourage you to complete the survey as it will help with future growth planning.”

The study will provide the necessary information to make data-driven decisions, improve the City’s existing housing stock, and encourage new development. 

Joshua Laraby, Grow Fairfield’s Executive Director, said, “With nearly 3,000 people who commute into Fairfield and Jefferson County daily for work but live outside the community, we have an incredible opportunity to create housing options and grow Fairfield. We would like to thank you for taking the time to participate. 

The final housing study is expected to be complete in January.

In addition to the 11-member task force, City Administrator Aaron Kooiker and Mayor Connie Boyer are engaged participants in the committee and process. 

Mayor, Connie Boyer, concluded, “the task force members are drawn from a good cross-section of community leaders and stakeholders committed to addressing the housing challenge in a meaningful way. I am confident they will build a solid plan.”

Mayor & City Council Appointed Fairfield Housing Task Force Members

Paul Gandy, Fairfield City Council Member
Nick Graham, Cambridge Investment Research
Chad Christensen, Fairfield Manufacturers Association
Kristin Miller, Miller Realty
Tim Bower, Fairfield Community School District
Aaron Kness, Iowa State Bank
Karl Metcalf, Iowa State Bank
Bryan Hunger, Jefferson County Health Center
Don Hoelting, Landlord, and Developer
Joshua Laraby, Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association

 

For questions regarding the housing study or the public survey, please contact Joshua Laraby at 641-472-3436 or Joshua.Laraby@growfairfield.com

New Child Care Center Names Finch as Center Director

(FAIRFIELD, IOWA) October 27, 2022 – The Cambridge Little Achievers Center Board of Directors has named Tiffany Finch as the Center Director. Finch comes with 10 years of exceptional leadership experience in early childhood education. 

Finch’s effective start date was August 22nd and will spend the next months developing the new Center’s programming and the organization’s operations. 

“After a thorough search and many qualified candidates, Tiffany was the clear choice for leading this new Center. Tiffany shines in the areas we’re focusing on including developing a positive work culture, building strong family relationships while focusing on financial sustainability, and developing high-quality programming. We’re enthusiastic about the strong leadership she will bring to bolster this new center that is important to the community’s needs,” said Bryan Hunger, President of Cambridge Little Achievers Center Board of Directors.  

Finch previously served as a Center Director in Baxter, Iowa, for the Baxter Early Learning Center, which ultimately served 162 children and employed 35 staff. The Baxter Center recruited Finch at a time when it was experiencing financial and operational challenges. Within 12 months she led the center to a healthy financial position and increased enrollment, while building a strong   culture for the workforce. 

Most recently, Finch, was the on-site supervisor for SIEDA Headstart, a federally funded preschool program, a partnership with Cardinal Community School District. 

Heather Buckley, Elementary Principal at Cardinal Community School District, stated, “Tiffany works to reach collaborative outcomes that are in the best interest of the children and families. With her leadership she finds a balance of communicating expectations, while also supporting and modeling those to her staff in a positive manner.”

Finch has resided in Jefferson County for 3 years with her husband Matt, her two daughters, Emarie and Isabella, and son Ashtem. She enjoys spending time outdoors with her family, coaching basketball, softball and volleyball.   

Finch expressed, “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve as Center Director of Cambridge Little Achievers Center and even more excited to begin serving families in Fairfield and surrounding communities. My previous leadership roles has built a strong foundation for me to lead our Little Achievers. Healthy development depends on safe and positive experiences during the first few years of life. If you are a working parent or guardian, choosing child care is one of the most important decisions you’ll make for your child. We are excited to be a part of this journey for you and your family.”

The Board of Directors and Finch are finalizing weekly rates, hours of operation, and aiming to open in early 2023. 

Cambridge Little Achievers Center is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, and partnered with over 40 businesses, organizations and individuals to bring this new Center to fruition. 

Parents and guardians looking to add their children to an Interested List can enter their information HERE.

Those interested in future employment, can submit their information HERE

Get the most recent announcements at Cambridge Little Achievers Facebook Page

Sun & Fun Motorsports Grand Opening August 6th

(FAIRFIELD, IOWA) Sun & Fun Motorsports (SFM Fairfield) and Grow Fairfield are hosting the grand opening of SFM Fairfield’s new powersports dealership on August 6th from 10 am to 2 pm, with a Welcome & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at 11:30. The grand opening is being held at its new location at 405 East 227th Street, just East of the AmericInn Hotel.
The grand opening will include an open showroom, introduction of the Fairfield team, barbecue and soft drinks, and financing specialists onsite.

SFM Fairfield is Southeastern Iowa’s newest powersports store and offers ATVs, side-by-sides, and motorcycles from CFMOTO, SSR, and Benelli and also offers parts and service for these brands and more.

Scott Goedken, Owner, of SFM Fairfield, said, “We are excited to be in Fairfield. Our team has been diligently at work to get our new dealership completed we’re ready to celebrate and welcome you to the SFM Family.”

SFM Fairfield purchased the 30,000 square-foot Fairfield Speculative Shell Building in Grow Fairfield’s new South Business & Industrial Park in November 2021. The speculative shell building was a strategic economic development initiative, aimed to attract new business to Fairfield or assist an existing business in expanding, along with the creation of new jobs. The development of the Shell Building and the Park was a public-partnership between Access Energy Cooperative, Northeast Power, Iowa Area Development Group, the City of Fairfield, Jefferson County Board of Supervisors, and Grow Fairfield.

Goedken, remarked, “we want to thank the economic development partners, from when we began looking at the community, through the purchase and finishing of construction. The partners have been very helpful and welcoming in bringing the entire opportunity together.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director, of Grow Fairfield, said, “Scott and the Sun & Fun Motorsports team have been outstanding to work with, in their site selection process, the purchase and through the final buildout of the facility. On behalf of our Member Businesses and partners, we welcome Sun & Fun Motorsports to Fairfield. Please join for the grand opening festivities and help welcome the Sun & Fun Motorsports family, on Saturday, August 6th”

Those who visit the grand opening before 12:00pm. will be entered into a drawing for a $500 in-store dealership credit.

Media Contact:
Joshua Laraby
joshua.laraby@growfairfield.com
641-472-3436

 

 

LABORSHED STUDY TO BE CONDUCTED IN FAIRFIELD

 Grow Fairfield Economic Development Association is partnering with Iowa Workforce Development and Iowa Economic Development Authority to complete a Laborshed employment study for the Fairfield area. This study will geographically define which communities contribute to Fairfield’s workforce, regardless of political boundaries. This defined area is called a Laborshed area and is based upon commuting patterns.

The purpose of this Laborshed study is to measure the availability and characteristics of Fairfield area workers. Laborshed studies are useful tools for economic development teams and existing or prospective employers to understand the local labor market, make informed expansion and site selection decisions, and maintain/recruit a high-quality workforce.

The Laborshed boundary is based on the place of residence of individuals commuting into the Fairfield area for employment. For the success of this study, we will be sending letters to employers in Fairfield asking that they provide us with aggregate counts of their employees’ residential ZIP codes. This reporting will give us an understanding of where each community’s workforce resides.

“Employers will be contacted in the next few weeks and we encourage all employers to participate in the laborshed study. The study helps provide the collective information for workforce and economic development initiatives,” said, Josh Laraby, Executive Director for Grow Fairfield.

Every year Iowa Workforce Development conducts Laborshed studies across the State. The results of each analysis are publicly available online at www.iowalmi.gov/laborshed. If you have any questions about the Laborshed project, please contact Katie Lippold at 515-281-3035 or Joshua Laraby, Grow Fairfield 641-472-3436

Thank you for your support and participation.
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New Fairfield Child Care Center Breaks Ground, Announces Name

 

FAIRFIELD, IOWA (March 15, 2022) The Jefferson County Kids, Inc. Board of Directors and its partners held a groundbreaking ceremony on a new 14,000 square-foot child care center, located west of the Jefferson County Health Center. At the event, the Board of Directors also unveiled the name of the facility to be, Cambridge Little Achievers Center.

“Access to quality child care is critical to the economic well-being of the state,” said Debi Durham, Executive Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Iowa Finance Authority. “The new center we celebrate in Jefferson County today provides a solution to our child care shortage and exemplifies how successful public-private partnerships are vital to economic development efforts.”

The new center will create an additional 185 new child care spaces and will serve children from infants to 12 years old. Construction completion is slated for late 2022 and the opening date has not yet been set, though is estimated to be early 2023.

Bryan Hunger, Board President of Cambridge Little Achievers Center, said, “This is a proud day for the community. We are grateful for the over 40 businesses, organizations, and individuals who have come together and made this new center possible. The new child care center and the additional spaces will position Fairfield and Jefferson County for more working families to be welcomed into our community.”

This new center is considered a leader in the State of Iowa, demonstrating a successful public-private partnership approach to increasing the number of community child care spaces.

The Board of Directors also gives special thanks to locally owned community banks, Iowa State Bank & Trust Company of Fairfield, and Libertyville Savings Bank for their interim financing support until pledged donations are fully realized.

“We look forward to construction completion, the opening of the doors, and welcoming the young smiling faces soon,” Hunger stated.

Cambridge Little Achievers Center, Board of Directors:
Bryan Hunger, Board President
Teri Bockting, Board Vice President
Kate Van Pelt, Board Secretary & Treasurer
Terri Kness, Board Member
Todd Reifsteck, Board Member

For more information visit www.growfairfield.com/childcare

New Windmill Business Relocating to Fairfield, Purchases former Aluminum Foundry Building

February 17, 2022 (FAIRFIELD, IOWA) Grow Fairfield is pleased to announce Great Plains Windmill Service will be relocating its business to Fairfield and has purchased the former ALCAST aluminum foundry building located at 603 North 8th Street.

Pictured: Phil Gehman and his wife Janelle Gehman

Great Plains Windmill Service is the largest windmill company in the nation, specializing in; installation, servicing, painting, full restorations, and relocating of farm and recreational windmills. Of the several hundred installed each year, more than half are utilized for water, cattle operations, irrigation, wetland preservation, and pond aeration.

Phil Gehman, Owner of Great Plains Windmill Service, said, “we are pleased to have chosen Fairfield to relocate and expand our business. We are a family-owned business originally founded in Kinross, Iowa, that is continuing to grow and we believe Fairfield will be a great fit to expand.”

Planned improvements to the 118,000 square foot facility will begin immediately and the creation of a dozen or more-high quality jobs is estimated in the first year.

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director of Grow Fairfield, said, “Phil and his team have been a pleasure to work with and will be a great fit to the community. I am pleased they have selected Fairfield. Many positives will come from this, including a temporarily vacant facility put back into production, new jobs created, and welcoming of a new business to Fairfield.”