WREDC Executive Director resigns

WORTHINGTON - After more than 6 years as the Executive Director of the Worthington Economic Development Corp, Abraham Algadi has tendered his resignation to the WREDC Board Chair, effective September 16.

Algadi said sometimes a person knows when it is time to move on, and he had an unsolicited offer from the private sector in the Rochester region he has decided to accept. He said the offer involves what he considers the meat and potatoes of economic development and project development.

Algadi has worked on numerous projects during his time in Worthington, one of which is implementation of the Nobles Home Initiative - a housing tax abatement program that has promoted the building of new houses. To date, 87 homes have been built in Nobles County using the program, which gives the homeowner a 5-year tax abatement on property taxes.

Based on the average Estimated Market Value, the new homes will have a increased tax impact of close to $13 million as the abatements end, Algadi stated. Other cities and counties have adopted the same program as leaders recognized its positive impact.

Other examples he cited as projects he enjoyed was helping the community of Round Lake find a use for a building after Sather's closed, and getting the private sector involved in community investments.

"In fact, it reassured me and reinstated my faith that economic development comes from within," Algadi said. "You do not have to wait for a savior."

There are a number of things he has liked about Worthington, including the people with good hearts who want to do good for the community.

"My favorite thing is that since I came on board, recognizing what I saw elsewhere as community and economic development challenges - daycare, housing, amenities - those three became really important drivers to what the city and county began to focus on," Algadi said.

He said people joke with him that economic development is all about smokestacks, jobs and a tax base, but there is more to it.

"In order to supply the machinery, you need young talent," he said. "And then for the young talent, you need a microbrewery for them."

Algadi said in less than three months, half a million dollars was raised to take a building that was a downtown eyesore and turn it into what it is today - Forbidden Barrel. And other than the Nobles Home Initiative, none of the projects they worked on needed taxpayer investment. People want to do business in Nobles County because there are opportunities, he added.

He said some of his proudest achievements have been working with minority- and women-owned businesses, especially in an area where guidance is needed.

" I'm really gonna miss the people I worked with, the opportunity to make a difference," he said.

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