Daugaard praises Parkston as Capital
PARKSTON — When the governor of South Dakota was in town Wednesday, the proud community of Parkston showed all it had to offer.
The city carried the ceremonial honor of being "Capital for a Day," which put the town at the forefront of Gov. Dennis Daugaard and his advisers to meet with local officials and community leaders about key issues. The day-long event included business visits, a town social and a roundtable with community leaders. When Daugaard got his chances, he told community members that they are doing a quality job of building a community.
"This is a city that has taken advantage of the opportunities that are out there," Daugaard told local residents gathered at a social event held Wednesday morning at Pony Creek Steakhouse. "Every time there's a opportunity, Parkston raises its hand. They are involved and do what it takes to be better than average."
He also congratulated the citizens of Parkston and their local government, which, he said, carries no debt. Daugaard said that while the state government doesn't have much debt, he was envious of the Parkston city government.
"That's something to be really proud of," he boasted to the crowd.
The day opened with a ribbon cutting at MDS Manufacturing for its new 37,500-square foot building, which was built with the help of a Revolving Economic Development and Initiative (REDI) Fund Loan.
The company makes loader attachments for skid steers, tractor loaders and telehandlers, among other agricultural items.
It opens next month and will be where the company will receive its steel, paint products and conduct shipping. The company will add as many as 18 new employees to work in receiving, shipping, painting and welding.
Company President Steve Hohn said demand made the new addition a requirement to serve its customer base. Hohn operates the company, which was founded in 1976 by his father, with his brothers Brian and Brad.
"We're a recognized brand and our customers know what kinds of products we produce," Hohn said, following the ribbon-cutting ceremony where Daugaard did the honors with oversized scissors. "We're right in the heart of where we want to be, and we're very close to people we serve. For our growth, we hope to be able to ship 25 percent more than we do now."
Daugaard said MDS is an example of a business to take advantage of an improved ag-economy.
"They're doing very well because ag has been doing very well in recent years," Daugaard said. "Because there's been additional growth in concentrated animal feeding operations in pork, they also have increased demand for their farrowing crates and their iron work. They've got orders for several systems in South Dakota and demand thus far has been very good."
Next door, at Noteboom Implement, company CEO Dan Noteboom explained how the company is planning to add as many as 10 jobs that primarily focus on technology to farms more efficient.
"That is the essence of value-added agriculture, if you ask me," Noteboom said. "Because you're adding value to the crop where it is planted and harvested and getting more out of every acre, which makes farms more efficient, and we want to facilitate that as much as possible."
Those jobs -- about 30 new jobs, in all -- go a long way in the community of 1,500 people, according to Parkston Area Development Corporation President J.D. Bormann.
"We grow by one job at a time, not 25," he said. "So these are big things for us because we may never see growth like this again that comes all at one time. It's huge for us."
Daugaard cited that South Dakota agriculture has a $25 billion economic impact for the state and is responsible for 20 percent of the state's total economic activity. Ag-economy remains the engine for South Dakota, he said.
"Every time we turn over the ag dollar, it benefits our community," Daugaard said.
The business growth in the city has been made possible by a state grant from the Office of Economic Development and the Building South Dakota program. Parkston received $143,000 in April for the city to extend its sewer system in the southwest part of town and allows expansion at MDS and Noteboom, among other businesses. The project will cost more than $400,000 but would allow the city to annex those businesses into the city limits and increase Parkston's tax base.
Other issues like housing and the workforce were prominent Wednesday.
Daugaard said the first step is to make sure communities know their housing needs with a formal study of their housing supply in the city and gets around the barrier of financing. Parkston completed a housing study in 2012 and has incentivized new homes in the city with potential payment for a new builders.
"It is a terribly difficult thing with the housing. We struggle with that immensely," said Gale Walker, Avera St. Benedict Health Center CEO. "We need to focus on the entry-level housing and find a way to work from there because that's where it starts."
The governor also visited local businesses on Main Street and in the city's industrial park before holding a lunch with local leaders regarding housing and the workforce at Bormann Manor at Avera St. Benedict. In addition to the Parkston stops, Daugaard made visits to businesses in Dimock, which Parkston Mayor Dave Hoffman called "a sister city" earlier in the day.