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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

May 20, 2005

Good for Business

Leaders in the Storm Lake area had big plans for their community. They wanted to spruce up the lake. They wanted to build a new beach, a lighthouse, a water park, rental cabins, a lakeside lodge, a driving/biking trail and a skate park. They wanted to redesign the municipal golf course and modernize campgrounds.

Would the costs of these major improvements pay off in economic development? The community leaders turned to ISU's Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and Department of Economics to help answer that question. Ongoing water quality valuation research by CARD enabled the economists to estimate the impacts of increased tourism and economic activity in the region after the improvements.

Their findings were most encouraging. The economists estimated the improvements would bring in $28.4 million in new sales and $10.7 million in new income annually and add nearly 700 jobs to the community.

With the help of the ISU economists' impact report, leaders acquired an $8 million Vision Iowa grant in December 2004 to assist with development of the estimated $30 million project.


ISU economists' help Storm Lake officials estimate the payoff for sprucing up their lake and recreational facilities.