Why is economic development important to the local community?
The Lake Wales Economic Development Council works hard to be the catalyst for economic growth in our area. But why is that important to the community at large?
It’s actually pretty simple: A healthy economy means a healthy community. Here’s what we mean.
Every part of the Lake Wales economy is interconnected. A strong economy provides a draw for potential businesses looking to move into the area, which in turn provides a wider variety of jobs for the residents of Lake Wales. And when our residents are employed and can comfortably afford their standard of living, they have more expendable income to invest into businesses and shops in the area. Accordingly, when we have a community that participates fully in the economy, we find more businesses interested in moving into the area, which leads to industry diversification and more job availability.
So a solid and healthy economy is like food and oxygen for the community—it both stimulates and supports rapid growth.
But it’s more than that. Residents want to live in a place with opportunity, yes, but they also want to live in a place that suits their needs and interests. By focusing on targeted industries including agribusiness, tourism, logistics and distribution, light manufacturing, healthcare, and retail, we believe we’ve helped create a friendly and community-oriented place to live. A place where innovation and entrepreneurship thrive, and where people can live their dreams while enjoying quality health care, education, shopping, dining and more. And we couldn't have hoped to do that without the businesses that settled in Lake Wales and became an established part of the community.
We also have the opportunity of being a small, welcoming city located between the two major metropolitan areas - Tampa and Orlando. That means we have the added appeal of providing access to big-city living without the daily traffic and issues inherent with larger cities. The Lake Wales Economic Development Council's goal is to help businesses open, expand or relocate to the area. There are a number commercial office spaces located throughout the area that offer an ideal location for professional, medical and retail businesses including the downtown commercial district and SR 60 and Hwy 27 corridors.
With the opening of the new CSX intermodal facility, the Longleaf Business Park offers a prime location for new business opportunities and expansion. The Longleaf Business Park, located two miles south of Lake Wales on Highway 27, is home to Kegel Company, a state-of-the-art bowling training center and manufacturer of bowling equipment. Nearly $3 million in roads, utilities and infrastructure have been invested to provide shovel-ready opportunities for commercial and industrial businesses looking to expand or relocate in the Longleaf Business Park.
The Lake Wales Economic Development Council also works closely with site selectors who represent the interests of businesses looking to relocate to the area. The role often involves serving as advocates, risk managers, liaisons and ambassadors to help businesses navigate government channels, identify resources, and learn about valuable government incentive programs. The organization is supported by funding from the city of Lake Wales and area economic partners.
The Lake Wales Economic Development Council is committed to continually strengthening and improving the local economy so that businesses and residents alike can realize the benefits of a strong local economy in the form of more jobs,higher wages and expanded government services.