Hy-Vee, casino offer more details on local projects
By DOUGLAS BURNS
The Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission’s June 12 approval of a casino license for a Wild Rose complex in Jefferson is a watershed day for Greene County, local development officials say.
“It’s amazing what’s happened since June 12 and how many times the phone’s rang,” said Sid Jones, vice president of the Greene County Development Corp. (GCDC).
But in Greene County’s growth spurt — a community development equivalent of a 16-year-old shooting up 6 inches just months after getting his driver’s license — the $40-million casino-and-hotel development on the north side of Jefferson is far from the only game in town as evidenced by a raft of announcements and updates on projects in the county presented during the development group’s annual banquet last week at the Greene County Fairgrounds’ Clover Hall.
“We’ve had a really good year,” said Ken Paxton, executive director of the GCDC.
The county earned Gov. Terry Branstad’s designation as the inaugural Home Base Iowa community, giving Greene Countians a lead role in recruiting military veterans back to Iowa as part of a sweeping program in which the governor has invested considerable state and political capital.
“It’s something we should be proud of, it’s something we have gotten a lot of publicity on,” Paxton said.
All major entries to Greene County have signs posted showcasing the Home Base designation.
“People are pretty impressed with that,” Paxton said, noting that he has given presentations to 16 counties on implementing Home Base Iowa. “We have been the prototype.”
Businesses in the county are offering incentives to pair with the state’s program with a one-two punch in delivering for veterans.
Amy Rubel, vice president of operations and marketing for West Des Moines-based Wild Rose Entertainment, said the Jefferson property, now under construction, will have an opening date next summer largely dependent on how cooperative the winter is with contractors.
The casino will announce a general manager for Wild Rose Jefferson soon, and expects to hold a job fair in the community in the spring. Those interested in applying can do so now through the company’s website — wildroseresorts.com.
“We will be hiring people — hopefully locals,” Rubel said.
The Greene County project, which includes a casino, hotel and events center, will add 275 jobs as well as payroll and benefits of $7 million annually to the local economy.
“It’s very huge for me that we have a good, positive relationship with the community,” Rubel said.
The company expects to have a grand-opening event exclusive to area residents and advocates before the full opening.
“You guys should be so proud in Greene County,” Rubel said.
Jefferson Hy-Vee Store Manager Lori Subbert said the grocery is expected to be open on the north side of downtown in early spring. Hy-Vee will hire 150 people, up to 60 of them full time.
The Hy-Vee will have what Subbert termed a “full-fledged” cafe with wait staff. Breakfast likely will be served all day, and there are plans for an Italian and Chinese food section.
“Hy-Vee is a great company to put in this community,” Subbert said.
In other news, Paton continues to grow with success of 209 Main, a restaurant that employs 45 people.
“It’s amazing at noon, the streets are full,” said Dave Sturtz, general manager of Paton-based Bauer Built Manufacturing.
The region also expects to be home to a new “truck friendly” convenience store and gas station. And Bauer Built Manufacturing, with 20 employees, plans to add another 15 by the end of 2014.
Carl Behne, CEO of the Greene County Medical Center, said the $22.5 million expansion-and-renovation project is expected to be complete in late spring.
- Log in to post comments