The first green certified site in the United States is located in Woodward.
“This is an exciting day. Iowa is once again first in the nation,” Mayor Brian Devick said. “Woodward is a small town in Iowa that is the first in the state to roll out to you today our announcement of the first green certified, or environmentally-friendly, business park.”
Devick was joined by Gov. Kim Reynolds, Iowa Economic Development Authority Director (IEDA) Debi Durham and Linda Wunsch, of Greater Dallas County Development Alliance, to announce the green certified site on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
The 190-acre Woodward site is the first to receive green certification through IEDA’s Certified Site Program. Durham said the program started in 2012 as IEDA partnered with the national site selection firm, McCallum Sweeney Consulting.
“The program is comprised of the advance work it takes to make it as easy as possible for businesses to pick Iowa for their next expansion or location,” Durham said. “The green business park certification is a newer category within our Site Certification Program thanks to the big thinking of Woodward.”
Devick said the idea of a business park came about around eight or nine years ago. That idea then turned into a discussion about sustainability and attracting environmentally-conscious businesses.
The Woodward Development Group started working with the Greater Dallas County Development Alliance to make the idea a reality.
“When we started our research on this, we found that there were no business parks like this,” Wunsch said.
She added that the sustainable idea resurfaced after she received an email from the Iowa Energy Center in January of 2015 saying they had energy grants. Wunsch immediately thought of Woodward and how the park could turn into a green certified site.
The Woodward Development Group and the Alliance then started working with the IEDA to develop guidelines for a green certified site.
“Woodward agreed to pursue and has now successfully achieved the pilot certification for the green business park category,” Durham said.
She added that it is not surprising that the first green site in Iowa is located in Woodward. The new green site joins three certified sites in Dallas County, including Perry, Dexter and Van Meter.
Iowa now has 20 certified sites, Durham said, with 16 more in the works.
“Iowa is leading and it’s because of communities like Woodward, where you proactively take steps to meet the needs of tomorrow’s businesses, citizens and workers,” Reynolds said.
The next step for the Woodward green business park, Wunsch said, is to continue to market it to potential companies. She hopes to invite Reynolds, Durham and other community leaders back in the near future for a ribbon cutting.
Reynolds congratulated the City of Woodward and said she plans on coming back to attend that ribbon cutting.
“You certainly have a lot to be proud of in Woodward and I look forward to sharing your many accomplishments that will help inspire other rural communities to take your lead and dream big, work together and make big things happen,” Reynolds said.