County Level Economic Development
The County Board's Conservation, Education and Economic Development Committee is
charged with overseeing day-to-day economic development activities in Wood County.
Planning staff are responsible for working with development prospects and participate
on the Boards of Directors for Centergy
(the economic development organization for Wood, Portage and Marathon counties)
and the North Central
Advantage Technology Zone (the group that recommends tax credits for technology
business expansion). The staff is also responsible for administering Wood County's
revolving loan fund program (described below). Finally, Wood County provides financial
support to both economic development agencies in the county; the Heart of Wisconsin Business & Economic Alliance
(HOWBEA) in Wisconsin Rapids and the
Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce & Industry (MACCI) in Marshfield.
Conservation, Education & Economic Development (CEED) Committee
The CEED Committee is a standing committee of the County Board. The committee includes
five members of the County Board who are appointed by the County Board Chairman
and serve a two-year term. The Planning & Zoning Director is the support staff for
the committee for economic development purposes. For membership and contact information,
visit our Committees Page.
Wood County Revolving Loan Fund
Wood County began the revolving loan fund program in March, 2002 when the County
Board adopted the Revolving Loan Fund Manual. The manual was approved by the Wisconsin
Department of Commerce in May, 2002 and Wood County was notified of the first application
Revolving Loan Funds are available to businesses and industries for projects that
create new jobs, leverage additional private investment in the County and expand
the County's tax base. Eligible and ineligible projects are listed in the Revolving
Loan Fund Manual and the Revolving Loan Fund Brochure . The minimum loan amount
is $20,000 because loans are structured to allow $20,000 for each FTE position created
or retained (the owner is not counted as an employee for the purpose of the loan).
The maximum amount of any loan will be 50% of the fund balance. Any type of legitimate,
viable business is eligible to apply.
A five-member Loan Review Board reviews applications for loans much the same as
a bank or other lender. After considering the application and negotiating terms
and conditions of the loan, the Loan Review Board forwards their recommendation
to the County Board of Supervisors for final approval.
Minimum requirements of the program, spelled out in detail in the Revolving Loan
Fund Manual, include a commitment of owner equity and commercial loans, creation
and retention of jobs that are available to low- and moderate-income persons and
the project must be deemed to be economically viable in our community. More information
can be obtained by contacting the Revolving Loan Fund Administrator, Gary Popelka,
in the Planning & Zoning Office.
Wood County Economic Development & Tourism
Need help planning or financing your business? Several options are available to
help you get started.
For business planning, you might try the Heart of Wisconsin's Community Progress Initiative Entrepreneurial
Boot Camp. The Boot Camp is an intensive learning program designed to train
potential entrepreneurs. The camp provides the framework necessary for participants
to take ideas and develop them into workable business plans. designed for persons
who are interested in starting their own business. Held over a few days, participants
learn how to write a business plan and present their business proposal to a panel
of experts who will provide constructive criticism and encouragement. Many boot
camp graduates have started their own businesses.
Another source of information is the
Wisconsin Department of Commerce. If you visit the "business resources"
section on their web site, you will find information on starting or expanding businesses,
locating businesses in Wisconsin, writing business plans, financing options and
more. This site is very worthwhile for those who are serious about starting or expanding
a business in Wisconsin.
Wood County has participated in programs and activities to assist with business
and industrial development that creates jobs, improves Wood County's business climate
and makes Wood County a better place to live. A few examples of how this program
has been used are:
- Mill Creek Business Park infrastructure development
The City of Marshfield was awarded $150,000 to assist with installation of sewer
and water main to as they prepared their new
Mill Creek Business Park for tenants.
- The Woodlands Business Park infrastructure development
An award of $150,000 was made to the City of Wisconsin Rapids to aide the city's
efforts to ready the
Woodlands Business Park for new tenants. The funding was used to help with
sanitary sewer, storm sewer and water main installation.
Wood County provides funding to both the Marshfield Airport and Alexander Field
(South Wood County Airport) on an annual basis to support operational expenses.
Additional grants have been made to assist with unforeseen maintenance projects
and special projects.
The function of the Economic Development Committee with respect to highways is to
actively keep abreast of Wisconsin State Highway 10, 13, 34 and 73 construction
initiatives that will be vital to future commerce and travel throughout Wood County
and that will impact land uses in Wood County communities. Committee members and
staff attend WisDOT meetings and public hearings regarding changes to the state
highway system and represent the interests of the county through testimony and input
on projects. The committee does not participate in county highway construction or
- State Fair Booth
Wood County awards $2,500 each year to assist the
Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Marshfield Area Convention and Visitors
Bureau to have a booth at the Wisconsin State Fair to meet people and
promote Wood County. The CVBs reported that this activity results in a measurable
increase in tourism in Wood County.
- Cranberry Highway Promotion
The Wisconsin Rapids Area Convention & Visitors Bureau received $2,500 to be used
as part of the local match for a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Tourism
to develop and promote the
Cranberry Highway tourism program, a tour of the cranberry harvest in the
fall. Hotels, cranberry companies and the CVB have reported that this program is
very successful, drawing tourists from around the country and outside the United
The Economic Development Committee was orginally called the "Transportation & Economic
Development Committee." Their function in the area transportation was, and is, to
support of area highway improvements, to monitor state legislation that will affect
transportation projects and to recommend what projects the County Board should support
and what grants they should apply for. In their transportation role, the Economic
Development Committee provides financial support to the two airports and has been
very active in getting grants for and constructing multi-use trails. The following
list summarizes recent activities. It is important to note that this committee does
not plan, construct or maintain county roads; that is the function of the Wood County
Several miles of bicycle and pedestrian trails have been developed by Wood County
through the CEED Committee. The County has worked cooperatively with the Wisconsin
Department of Transportation, local municipalities and private businesses in Wood
County to develop a system of trails that provide a safe alternate transportation
option and another recreational opportunity. Many other trails, developed by municipalities,
exist in the county and can be found on the Wood County Bicycle Trail Map.
Other Economic Development Services and Links
- City of Marshfield Revolving Loan Fund.
- City of Wisconsin Rapids Revolving Loan Fund.
- North Central Wisconsin
Development Corporation Loan Program.
Technology Zone tax credit program.
- Small Business Development Center at UW-Stevens Point provides Business and Assistance
- SCORE Counselors.
- Business start-up counseling at Heart of Wisconsin Business & Economic Alliance
and the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
- Demographic Data and Geographic Information System mapping.