Lake County has its advantages for recruiting businesses and people to the area to work and live, but there are challenges that the local economic development group needs to overcome to encourage growth.

Eric Fosheim, executive director for the Lake Area Improvement Corporation, delivered updates to the city and county commissioners during June meetings that included information about a proposed Tru Shrimp plant in Madison, housing and child day-care.

In speaking to county officials, Fosheim noted that a proposed June 1 ground-breaking for a Madison Tru Shrimp plant was canceled. No new ground-breaking date is currently set for the facility that will raise shrimp intended for human consumption.

Fosheim said Tru Shrimp officials were in the "...beginning stages of their fund-raising efforts."

Tru Shrimp and state and local officials announced in early January the Minnesota company's intention to construct and operate a shrimp-raising facility in Madison. Tru Shrimp officials decided to delay the construction of a shrimp plant in Luverne, Minn., for up to three years, a project that was announced as worth $48 million to the Minnesota community.

In making the Madison plant announcement, Tru Shrimp officials had said that they couldn't schedule a summer 2019 ground-breaking in Minnesota due to the state's pollution-management requirements. In addition, financial incentives provided by South Dakota government lured the Balaton, Minn., company across the border.

At least one Minnesota official expressed concerns that Minnesotans would see "...another $300 million project cross the state line."

Fosheim told the county commissioners that LAIC officials remained optimistic about the project, and Tru Shrimp has taken out an option to buy land in Madison's industrial park. He said LAIC and city officials were preparing for the plant's construction to assist Tru Shrimp, but they were avoiding spending large amounts of money. Fosheim noted that the city and LAIC were applying for a federal Economic Development Administration grant to help pay for the work.


According to Fosheim, LAIC officials are working with Nielsen Construction of Harrisburg to construct townhomes and entry-level family housing on Madison's north side. Fosheim said Nielsen Construction possesses about 30 acres of land to build houses.

Fosheim added that other developers were considering home construction near the lakes and elsewhere in Lake County. A challenge to housing development centered on consumer affordability.

According to Fosheim, more local housing could increase Madison's and Lake County's populations instead of having workers commute into the area from Sioux Falls. He said  higher Madison wages could help resolve some workforce and housing difficulties.


In the area of workforce recruitment, Fosheim said Dakota State University and Madison hospital officials were having difficulty filling professional positions within their organizations due to a lack of child day-care. He said LAIC was reviewing the possibilities of an expansion of after-school programs at Madison's Community Center and other day-care programs.

When speaking about the difficulties in obtaining affordable day-care, Fosheim said, "It's not just a Madison issue."