Without two city-supported projects, investment in Mitchell would have hit its lowest point since 2013.
Two of the three largest community investments in Mitchell in 2017 were supported through tax increment financing (TIF) districts — the expansion of the Performance Pet Products property and the addition to Vantage Point Solutions. With city-backed projects, building permit valuations jumped from $34.28 million in 2016 to $37.42 million in 2017.
Mitchell Area Development Corporation Executive Director Bryan Hisel spoke highly of the projects that are collectively expected to add dozens of manufacturing and office jobs in Mitchell. He also spoke well of the TIF funding method behind the projects, which uses increased property tax revenue generated through the improvements to support the investment.
Hisel said both companies had options to expand elsewhere, but Mitchell helped make the opportunity to grow in South Dakota possible.
"I think by the use of tax increment, which is taking their property taxes and re-investing it in the project itself, I think those made the difference for having those expansions," Hisel said.
Hisel said building permits are a good measure of economic growth, and permits must be taken out for one of a handful of reasons. Those reasons include a remodel or basement finish, additions to a building, new fences over 6 feet tall, a change in use of the space or for new decks or garden sheds over 200 square feet, according to the city of Mitchell's website.
With those two expansion projects — Vantage Point's $2.5 million permit and Performance Pet's $7.15 million permit — Mitchell saw its second largest investment in construction projects in the last five years. Only 2015's $44.66 million in building permit valuations — the year when a $14.12 million permit was issued for the Mitchell School District Performing Arts Center — topped the 2017 numbers.
And while the VPS and Performance Pet additions will have a notable economic impact, they weren't the largest community investments in 2017. The city of Mitchell's $7.43 million permit for its indoor aquatic center on North Main Street was the year's largest project.
Hisel said the aquatic center also adds value to the city of Mitchell in attracting new residents.
"Having well-rounded retail and recreation is how people measure the quality of a town, and we're adding value when we're doing that," Hisel said.
Projects like NorthWestern Energy's new office on Burr Street and its new warehouse are also beneficial, according to Mitchell City Councilman Kevin McCardle. Together, the two projects reached a value of $2.28 million according to the building permits. When combined, those projects were one of seven to top $1 million in value within Mitchell in 2017.
"I think a fresh look is good for people, especially with your young families coming to town," McCardle said.
The other three projects topping $1 million include a new manufacturing plant for Trail-Eze, a seven-unit townhome project on East Juniper Avenue and an addition to Menards.