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Entries in Annual Dinner (5)


Washington's Growth Century & Annual Dinner

The Washington Economic Development Group, Washington Chamber of Commerce, and Main Street Washington celebrated their 2017 Annual Dinner on March 27th with 289 friends at the Events Center at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. Its a great networking event for local and Creative Corridor business and community leaders. Check out the event photo album on FaceBook.

WEDG was pleased to award its 2016 Harvey Holden Special Service award to the Washington County Riverboat Foundation. Since 2006, the Riverboat Foundation has awarded over $38 million through over 1,000 grants. They have made a big impact across Washington County and the Creative Corridor.

WEDG also honored Dan Franz for his leadership as WEDG Board President in 2016. Franz is the General Manager at the Riverisde Casino and Golf Resort. Washington County Hospital CEO, Dennis Hunger, is the 2017 WEDG Board President. We also welcomed new board directors, Lynn Koch of Federation Bank, and Amanda Russell of Bazooka Farmstar. Click here for a full 2017 board director list.

Ed's Remarks at the Annual Dinner

Washington County has seen a lot so far this 21st century. We've experienced ups and downs including a deep recession, and just last quarter Modine Manufacturing closed for good. But there are actually over 1,600 more jobs in Washington County in 2016 than in 2001. In fact, there has never been a year with more jobs in Washington County than 2016. We peaked in the summer with over 8,500 non-farm jobs.

Those job gains are primarily because of growth within existing business and industry, and from entrepreneurial startups.

People come from all over to work those jobs in Washington County. But even those that commute out are bringing their money back. Over $100 million in annual payroll from Johnson County jobs comes back to Washington County residents.

Washington County's population is growing too. We've added over 570 people since 2010, a 2.6% increase. That is why our labor force keeps hitting record highs too - 12,900 this fall. People are moving to Washington County. We're also growing the old fashioned too (more births than deaths...).

Many of our rural neighbor and peer counties in Southeast Iowa or in the Creative Corridor are not so fortunate. 

Something else has changed in Washington County over the last 20 years. Our retail sales are climbing, and have been for a decade. In the late 1990s, Washington County was at the bottom of retail sales compared to our neighboring peer counties.

Since 2006 (pre-recession even), Washington County's retail sales have rocketed from $124 million to $194 million in 2016. That is a $70 million increase, a 56% increase. And the increase isn't just in Washington; the increases are also in Kalona, Wellman, and Riverside. Those vibrate economies in Washington County's small communities is one of the most special things about our area.

Today, Washington County is at the top of the heap in retail sales compared to our surrounding peer counties. Why? People move here. People come here to shop. They shop at big stores, new stores, old stores, downtown stores. (it is worth noting that Main Street Washington's focus on improving downtown began in 2008.)

Mostly though, Washington County and area residents are spending more of their retail dollars in Washington County. Shopping locally.  

Don't forget that retail sales impacts local cities and the County. Big growth in retail sales has resulted in big growth in Local Option Sales Tax revenues. For example, in FY2005, Washington County received just $656,000 in LOST revenues. In FY2016, Washington County received over $1.1 million in LOST revenue.

WEDG's mission is to create and promote an environment for economic development. Slowly and frequently behind the scenes, WEDG is helping to create the place that you want to be.

Now we need your help. WEDG is beginning our 2017-2019 Pledge Drive. When we reach out to you shortly to renew your pledge or to ask you to make a new pledge, we hope that you will help us.

We appreciate your support.


Annual Dinner - March 27

Please join us on Monday, March 27th for our Annual Dinner at the Riverside Casino & Golf Resort. This is a fun networking celebration with 280+ community leaders from around greater Washington County. 

Be there with the Washington Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Washington, and the Washington Economic Development Group on Monday, March 27th!

  • Ticket Price: $40 per person ($50 after March 14)
  • Tables of 10 can be reserved for your business/organization $400
  • Two meat buffet!
  • Cash Bar(s)
  • Guilt-free raffle with great prizes!
  • Special hotel rate of $64.95 for Monday night. Call 319-648-1234 and request the room block for Washington County Annual Dinner.

Our guest speaker is Aaron Thomas, son of Coach Ed Thomas from Aplington-Parkersburg. He is a special, dynamic speaker that gets rave reviews. Don't miss him! This special program is brought to you through a sponsorship by the Washington County Hospital & Clinics.

Thanks to our event sponsors!



Housing Summit & Annual Dinner

Remember to register for the WEDG/Chamber/Main Street ANNUAL DINNER by Monday, March 14! After Monday, the price goes from $40 to $50! The Annual Dinner is Monday, March 21st at Riverside Casino & Golf Resort.

Its a great time. Thanks to all our sponsors and raffle donors!

If you've been putting it off, click here to register.

HOUSING SUMMIT - 11:30a, March 29th

Prior to 2007, home construction in Washington and Washington County was vibrant. Since then, housing construction has slowed to a crawl. We don't want this to become our new normal!

WEDG is hosting a 90-minute lunch On Tuesday, March 29th to initiate a dialog about how we can get more housing development going around Washington County. 11:30a-1:00p at Kirkwood Washington Regional Center.

Registration is free. Bring your thoughts and ideas to share with the group. Maybe do some networking. Bring business cards.


Who should attend:

  • Landowners
  • Lenders
  • Contractors
  • Local Gov't & School Officials
  • Realtors
  • Developers
  • Utilities

We'll have sandwiches and drinks. Probably some fruit too.


Annual Dinner & Realtors Luncheon


Join WEDG, the Washington Chamber, and Main Street Washington in celebrating the growth, achievements and dreams of a "Greater Washington" at our joint Annual Dinner on Monday, March 23rd at the Riverside Casino & Golf ResortIts a fun evening with 280 friendsReally. 

It will be an evening of wonderful company and networking, a fabulous two-meat buffet, cash bar, great raffle prizes, and special recognitions and awards.  Just $30 per person.

Plus, a special $60+tax hotel room rate on March 23rd at the Riverside Casino - courtesy code "Chamber Dinner," call 319-648-1234. 

Thanks to our Sponsors and Raffle donors that help to make it a great event!

SPONSORS: Community First Credit Union, Federation Bank, Hills Bank, US Bank, Washington State Bank, and West Chester Savings Bank/Freedom Security Bank

RAFFLE PRIZE SPONSORS: Batterson Photography, Cafe Dodici, Don's Jewerly, Hills Bank, Kirkwood Community CollegeRiverside Casino & Golf Resort, Virginia McCurdy Image Promotions


The Iowa City Area Association of Realtors now includes Washington County. WEDG is hosting a casual mixer luncheon for the real estate community at the Riverside Casino's Event Center on Monday, March 2nd.

Hear about Washington County from the City Administrators of Kalona, Riverside, Washington and Wellman. Plus learn about our school districts from the Superintendents of Highland, Mid-Prairie, and Washington School Districts.

Realtor members of ICAAR attend for free. Others are $20.

Thanks to our Sponsors for making this event possible!

City of KalonaCity of RiversideCity of WashingtonCity of Wellman
Highland Community School DistrictMid-Prairie Community School DistrictWashington Community School District
Elliott Realty GroupGolden Crest RealtyRuhl & Ruhl Washington
Integrity Abstract CompanyWashington Title & Guaranty Co.
Riverside Casino & Golf Resort
Community 1st Credit Union, Federation BankHills Bank and Trust, U.S. Bank Washington
Washington State Bank, West Chester Savings Bank/Freedom Security Bank


Speaking of real estate, the website recently published an interactive mortgage map to highlight the best counties in each state for securing a mortgage.  In the state of Iowa, three of the top counties are located in Iowa’s Creative Corridor:  Cedar County  (ranked 4), Washington County (ranked 6) and Jones County (ranked 10).

Washington County, ranked 6th in Iowa, is ranked 115th in the nation, which puts it in the top 4% of all counties. Washington County has a mortgage loan funding rate of 74.12%, which is at the top of Iowa and the nation.

“Washington County is a best bet for mortgage seekers because of strong community lenders, good realtors, reasonable taxes, and a stable and affordable housing market. That combination is what sets us apart from many parts of the state and the nation,” said Ed Raber of the Washington Economic Development Group.

To determine the best places to get a mortgage, SmartAsset analyzed four factors: overall borrowing costs, ease of securing a mortgage, property taxes and annual mortgage payments. All payments, costs and taxes were calculated on the first five years of a $250,000 mortgage with a 20% down payment and closing costs.


Annual Dinner, Monday March 24th

Join us in celebrating the growth, achievements and dreams of a "Greater Washington" at our joint Annual Dinner on Monday, March 24th at the Washington KC Hall. Its a fun evening. Really.

 Washington Economic Development Group

 Washington Chamber of Commerce

  Main Street Washington

Guest Speakers: Diane Gallagher & Millie Youngquist, co-chairs of Washington's 175th Anniversary Steering Committee.

Click here for more event details, or click here to register online! The cost is $30 per person.

It will be an evening of wonderful company and networking, a great two meat buffet, cash bar, a Guilt-free raffle, and special recognitions and awards. 

Thanks to our event and raffle sponsors!

Batterson Photography, Community First Community Credit Union, Custom Impressions, Don's Jewelry & Design, Federation Bank, Hills Bank & Trust, Kirkwood Community College, Riverside Casino & Golf Resort, US Bank, Washington State Bank, West Chester Savings Bank.

Don't forget, we create here...