ASHLAND, Wis. — State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski joined State Representative Beth Meyers, Ashland County Administrator Dan Grady, Mayor Deb Lewis, Philomena Kebec of the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, and Carver Harries of the Ashland Area Development Corporation yesterday to talk about building economic opportunities for the community.
“Ashland area economic agencies, businesses, and local governments are coming together to create economic opportunities for residents of the area. Whether that’s providing a space for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses or renovating space to provide critical childcare for parents, these are the types of initiatives we need to promote economic security across our state,” said State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski. “As Chair of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, I’m proud we were able to provide affordable financing for a solar panel array that will save the Ashland Area Development Corporation money on utility costs and help them continue to do this great work.”
Despite ranking as one of the poorest counties per capita and decreasing population, Ashland County is tackling these unique economic challenges. Ashland Area Development Corporation (AADC), a nonprofit committed to fostering job growth, has been able to take on a number of initiatives within the community with help from state and federal funding. In 2019, AADC worked with community partners to launch a large child care center in Ashland. A grant from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation assisted in renovating a partially-vacant building into the new learning center. In October 2021, the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands approved financing for a solar panel array for AADC’s business incubator, the Ashland Area Enterprise Center, that will decrease electricity bills, saving money that AADC says will be invested into technical assistance programs for local entrepreneurs.
“You can feel the optimism in Ashland and the Chequamegon Bay area,” said Ashland Area Development Corporation Executive Director Carver Harries, “Our approach to solving regional challenges is through building strong partnerships, and with continued support from the state we hope to continue to take steps forward in building our local economy.”
“I want to thank Treasurer Godlewski for taking the time out of her schedule to drive north and witness all of the great work Ashland Area Development Corporation has done for the community. AADC’s involvement with the city of Ashland and the surrounding areas couldn’t have come at a better time, taking on the many challenges COVID has presented – especially in Northern Wisconsin. From helping small businesses to fostering sustainable, long-term community projects like the solar panel array, AADC has proven they will be an essential pillar of the Ashland community for years to come.”