In 2015, Steve brought his “Sustainable Economic Viability” plan to the city. His philosophy and support for filling our empty business spaces and growing the city’s tax base has resulted in watermark success. We are currently enjoying the greatest period of sustained economic development growth in the city’s history with a record breaking estimate over $435 million in new investments for our area. By bringing additional retail and service opportunities to town including investors in our business park, we have been able to reduce resident costs that fund city services.


The year I campaigned for City Council, I sought to understand the challenges facing our city. A major area of opportunity was in reducing the 22% commercial vacancy space. I authored a report titled ‘Sustainable Economic Viability’, stating.. “If the City of Cottage Grove were my business… what would I do to make it better?”. I’m proud this work contributed to three major achievements

1) Fill our industrial business park

2) Recruit and market our city to attract retail and service-based businesses to fill the empty spaces and blighted areas

3)  Increase new housing options to attract diverse communities and welcome investors. Increase demand has been the prevalent theme for properties. By virtue of increased tax base, job creation, and transforming the 96,000 square-foot former Home Depot space that accounted for 60% of the city’s retail vacancy contributed to optimal recommended retail vacancy of 6% as indicated by Cassidy Turley Research. Due to our successful “business-building” efforts, the majority of property owners will see a decrease in the city-inspired portions of their annual property taxes for the second year in a row!