You might recall that last fall the City Council approved restructuring the Housing and Redevelopment Authority and the Port Authority in a way that refocused their work to better serve Bloomington’s housing and economic development goals.
For three decades, the Bloomington Port Authority has been a successful economic development agency that works to expand the city’s tax base, promote and attract quality job opportunities, and support real estate redevelopment and economic development.
The restructuring—which was the result of an analysis done by an outside consultant—expands the Port Authority’s focus on business development, expansion and retention. It also restructures the division to support these priorities.
I think it goes without saying that business development, expansion and retention are vital parts of cultivating an enduring and remarkable community where people want to be. The Port Authority’s role is just one part of an overall City strategy to build and strengthen our business community.
Regionally, Bloomington has an active role in the Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce. The City was an original investor in Greater MSP, a regional economic development partnership, and we work almost daily with the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.
Closer to home, City staff and elected officials work very closely with the Bloomington Convention and Visitors Bureau to ensure the strength of the hospitality industry. We partner with Hennepin County and the Metropolitan Council whenever possible. And I’m sure you’ve heard that we’re in the process of creating a small business development center on the city’s east side.
We also acknowledge that Bloomington is part of a global economy. Bloomington is active with the Minneapolis/St. Paul foreign trade zone. We’ve hosted Hiroshi Tajima, the consul general of Japan, and in February I attended an event in Chicago at the consulate general’s office. Last year, I was proud to be part of an event with the German American Chamber of Commerce. And of course, if we land Expo 2027, it will affirm that our reach is truly global.
With a strong and stable economy, good transportation infrastructure in place, and a hardworking, well-educated workforce, we know that Bloomington is a great place to do business. I feel good about the existing and growing efforts we have in place to tell that good story to businesses both big and small. We have seen results—SICK Industries locating their North American headquarters here is the most recent example—but like a lot of our work, this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’m confident that our steady, systematic work will continue to pay off for Bloomington in terms of jobs and economic development for years to come.