City, K-REDI respond to unemployment

The city of Kirksville and K-REDI are working to tackle economic issues in Kirksville by bringing in new businesses and providing opportunities for local residents to work.

The unemployment rate in the United States is 5.2 percent, according to the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center’s website. Missouri’s unemployment rate of 5 percent is slightly below the national rate, but Kirksville’s rate is 6.1 percent, according to the website. This is down from February 2015 when Kirksville had an unemployment rate of 6.8 percent, while the U.S. and Missouri had rates of 5.8 percent and 6.1 percent respectively, according to the website.

Assistant City Manager Ashley Young says the city teams up with K-REDI Center to work with businesses to develop Kirksville’s economy. Young says the groups work together to attract businesses to Kirksville. When looking at which franchises to bring to the city, Young says the city looks for businesses that will not directly compete with existing businesses.

“We do what we can to treat everyone fairly,” Young says.

Young says the city works with businesses to review and advise plans to comply with city ordinances. Young says to make Kirksville an attractive location, businesses can work with the city to receive code variances, allowing exceptions to city ordinances for their locations.

Young says different types of aid are available to help found businesses and help them grow. He says the city does not favor small or large businesses over the other, but the location and size of a business affects what aid will be available. While a grant for $229 million might be reasonable for a large corporation like Kraft, Young says such an amount would not be applicable to a small businesses.

K-REDI Executive Director Carolyn Chrisman says K-REDI’s goal is to provide family-supporting jobs in the Kirksville community. Chrisman says this is accomplished by retaining businesses already in the community and bringing in new businesses.

To bring in new businesses, Chrisman says K-REDI markets Kirksville and travels to talk to potential businesses. Chrisman says K-REDI gears their its toward site selectors who might be looking for potential locations. She says K-REDI also advertises nationally through business specialized magazines by including information about Kirksville in the Missouri profile for businesses seeking new locations.

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