Monthly Articles

Monthly Economic Development Articles


October – RCEDC hires JenRus Freelance to coordinate Economic Development duites for Republic County. JenRus Freelance is owned by Jenny Russell and employs Luke Mahin. Read full article

November – “Sometimes living in a rural community can be an uphill battle, one that we are committed to “winning”.  A business that I was recently recruiting asked me, “Is your community growing or declining?” Almost all rural areas in Kansas have been “declining” in population since 1900, so I don’t think declining is the correct term anymore, I say now we are “FIGHTING”.  Read full article

December – The question that we have been getting fairly often is, “How much does it cost to work with Republic County Economic Development?”  The answer to this question is that it doesn’t cost anything for a business or individual to work with the Economic Development office.  Economic Development is a service paid for by the County and the City of Belleville as a proactive way to boost the economy in Republic County – a service meant to promote county businesses and quality of life. Read full article


January – There are many things in the past couple of years that I think have the potential or maybe already have changed the landscape of rural living.  One is the increase in wages for agriculture-related careers and the other is the availability of technology.  Both of these things give a new place for our rural-raised, college-educated youth to be employed in rural areas.  Read full article

February – This youthful group of residents realizes some advantages of rural life. We can actually afford housing and our money is worth more here. We are not a number and are valued employees, consumers, and neighbors. We have family and friends within a stone’s throw away. We are far enough away from urban areas but still close enough to “reverse-commute” for entertainment, business, and travel. Read full article

March – The United States has statistically been in a recession since 2007.  Thanks to the common sense and traditional values of many people in the Midwest, the impact of this recession seems to have been delayed and lessened compared to other States, especially those States on the coasts.  Much of this could be credited to smarter housing choices, which, by the way, you can look forward to us addressing next month. Read full article

April – We live in a place with so many good things, things that even Kansas City doesn’t have. We need to be proud of the merits Republic County does have.  For instance, let’s put a hypothetical area college graduate living in Kansas City in this example.  What Republic County has that Kansas City doesn’t is often parents, grandparents, the nostalgia of being their hometown, childhood friends, and unique-to-us attractions like Pawnee Indian Village and the Boyer Gallery, etc.   Kansas City will never have most of those things and the other way around, Republic County might not ever have some of what Kansas City does.  But, we can be OK with that.  Read full article

May – Did you know that Republic County actually has a housing shortage? Many of our cities have done a great job of cleaning up blighted properties in the past few years, but that has led to glaring holes in the housing infrastructure.  The City of Belleville alone has been instrumental in tearing down over seventy blighted houses since 2000.  Smaller communities like Scandia, Courtland, Munden, and Cuba (and others) have also done a good job. Read full article

June –Recently we compiled some statistics on the costs of driving to shop outside Republic County. For this Freakanomics example, we will look only at groceries. First I looked at where you can fill your most basic food needs. Republic County has groceries available at Belleville, Courtland, Cuba, Scandia, and Republic. Other area places to buy groceries are Concordia, Mankato, Superior, NE, and Washington. In this example we will buy gasoline at $3.79/gal and drive a car that has an average of 25 mpg. The calculations are based on a weekly trip to buy groceries. We chose Concordia because it is one of the most common places our residents shop at. Read full article

July -I read an article a couple of months ago that really struck me as “right on” with the current state of Republic County.  The article was out of Successful Farming and called “Take the Long Road Home”… Last week, Governor Sam Brownback signed the Rural Opportunity Zone program that brings Kansas in line with some States that are offering tax breaks, help in repaying student loans, and grants to college grads.Read full article

August – All towns in our region have changed over the years and since we are in rural Kansas, maybe not all of those changes have been for the positive.  But, what is the difference between towns that have recovered well or remained mostly stable, versus those that haven’t recovered from the economic atmosphere?  Often towns that have remained stable and or recovered well have strong leadership, a “can-do” positive attitude of citizens, a proactive approach toward new economic opportunities, an entrepreneurial atmosphere, and active citizens who volunteer.  Read full article

September – With two major highways, especially U.S. 81 running right through Republic County, making sure that your business can be found on GPS is very important.  What if someone just came out of Nebraska, has never been to Kansas, and is looking for a good meal?  What if they type sandwich into the GPS and the closest sandwich shop comes up in Concordia?  You guessed it, they are probably driving on to Concordia, maybe not even aware of the awesome restaurants that we have right here.Read full article

October – In the coming months, we are actually going to study the housing problem and get opinions from different sources in Republic County.  Republic County Economic Development has contracted with the Docking Institute of Technology at Fort Hays to do a study and they may be calling on you.  So, if you receive a phone call from the Docking Institute, please give them your time and honest opinions about your perception about housing.  Economic Development will use these results to present our housing needs to housing developers and other entities to replenish our housing supply. Read full article

November – Variety is the spice of life.  Equally, diversity is important to an interesting community.  I think that the best communities have diversity in ages of residents, variety in services offered, ethnic diversity, a variety of housing, and more.  Communities that have services in retail, health care, entertainment, groceries, and restaurants are more fun to be in than communities that only have one or two services out of the above list.  Another example is a City with rental housing, small places to buy, and large places to buy is more prone to attract all sizes of families as well as individuals. Read full article.

December – Republic County offers many of the same things as Ord and Valley County Economic Development.  Republic County currently offers revolving loans through the Republic County Development Program and we have implemented Neighborhood Revitalization Program. RCED offers resources from business plan assistance to help accessing local, state, federal resources for businesses. As you can see it takes an array of groups, organizations, and even cities working together to promote positive change in a rural county. Lately that positive attitude is evident with many of the communities organizing Christmas tours, parades, open houses, and displays. I want to commend Tom Tsao and his volunteers for their time and labor put into the Rocky Pond Christmas Lights project. Thank you Tom for your unwavering support of Belleville and Republic County alike. Read full article