Hartford and its growing economy

Local News

HARTFORD S.D. (KELO) – The City of Hartford has gone through a number of changes economically over the years and it only continues to grow.

Realtor Dave Larson was born and raised in Hartford. After a few year away for school, when he came back he found out he wasn’t the only thing that’s grown.

“I absolutely love it. There weren’t as near as many businesses as there were growing up here. The town wasn’t near this big,” Larson said.

Since his return, he has been a member of the Hartford Area Development Foundation.

“What we do is discuss potential businesses coming to town and how we can help them get into town. What can we do as a community to facilitate them moving to Hartford,” Larson said.

“Hartford has grown a lot since 2016. We average about 2 to 3 percent population growth annually and every year we add about one to three businesses depending on the market conditions,” City of Hartford Chamber and Economic Development Director Jesse Fonkert said.

Fonkert is the Director of the foundation. He’s also been the City’s Chamber and economic development director since 2016.

“Downtown has been really exciting to watch; we have a brewery, Buffalo Ridge Brewing that opened in 2018, a florist backdoor garden, a boutique: Mod-Ish, and there’s plans to further redevelop the area,” Fonkert said.

“We have five new developments in Hartford to include the Turtle Creek Highlands edition, which should have about 160 lots, roughly,” Larson said.

With all of this, you could say the town is booming but that’s not what Fonkert and his team have in mind.

“We don’t want ‘boom’ we’re not looking for boom in Hartford. We want nice, steady growth that we can help welcome to our community but that also doesn’t shock our utilities and our infrastructure,” Fonkert said.

But Fonkert doesn’t credit the success to him and his team, but the people it impacts.

“The last four years is because of them; they’re the ones that have the visions, they’re the ones that have the idea, I just help execute. It’s been a pleasure, an honor to serve them over the last 4 years, and I think that nothing is going to change; the future will continue to be bright for Hartford,” Fonkert said.

Fonkert has now been named the Executive Director of both Minnehaha and Lincoln County Economic Development Associations. The development foundation also has a capital campaign in the planning phases that they plan to enact over the next four years.

For more information on Hartford’s developing economy you can visit the city’s website.

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