Submitted by Sharon Hanson, Marshall City Administrator

One of the best tasks of working for the City of Marshall is meeting people and connecting with them on their thoughts and opinions regarding the City. I have met a number of business people, key community contacts and everyday citizens who have provided me with a warm welcome and unwavering support. As I continue to meet with others, one thing that is absolutely clear is that there is an appreciation in knowing more information about the City.

Soon, the Marshall/Lyon County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will be releasing their Annual Report that details key economic factors and trends of the past year. Although there are some challenges to note, the Marshall community has a lot of positives as we look to future growth.

Marshall’s focus as a regional center continues to be true as recent studies illustrate a common labor and retail draw from approximately 50 miles from the City as Marshall’s current population of 13,664 doubles it’s daytime population according to employment estimates.

According to the University University of Minnesota Retail Trade Analysis report, there are several ways to measure performance other than dollars of sales. Economists expect cities of larger populations to have more sales since their potential customer base is larger. A way to compensate for that in a retail trade analysis is to measure the pull factor, which compares the local taxable sales per capita to that of the state. A pull factor index higher than 1.0 indicates that businesses are pulling in customers from outside their community. A lower pull factor usually indicates residents are leaving the community to make purchases. Overall Marshall had a retail sales surplus of 41.3 percent in 2015. The City’s retail pull factor from the study is at 1.62. The 1.62 pull factor indicates that the City of Marshall is generating 62% more than expected based on population.

Marshall has competitive educational advantage thanks to the presence of Southwest Minnesota State University. Recent economic study estimates that SMSU has a regional economic impact of $141 million and an estimated 1,898 jobs in southwest Minnesota. SMSU is recognized for its affordability, quality and lifetime return on investment as 99% of SMSU graduates are employed with 93% employed in their field of study. Further, Marshall Public Schools and three (3) Parochial Schools (True Light Christian School, Holy Redeemer School and Samuel Lutheran School) continue to see increasing or steady enrollment.

One challenge that we can overcome is that while new residential building and new commercial building permits were lower in 2017, there are known proposed residential and commercial development in 2018 and beyond that will greatly increase total valuation in the community of Marshall spreading the tax base more broadly.

Marshall continues to change making the future uncertain at times.  However, the most successful communities, including Marshall, choose to focus on strengths rather than losses to create and sustain economic opportunities, revitalize main streets and improve quality of life. If you have additional thoughts or questions, you can reach me directly at 507-537-6761.