Letter from GFDC’s Chairman
26 Feb 2021
To measure our success for 2020, it is important to look beyond the numbers to evaluate the outsized impact GFDC and our partners have had on the community. Afterall, 2020 created unprecedented opportunities to lead because we encountered unprecedented challenges. COVID-19 impacted how Fremont’s residents went about their daily lives and how businesses operated, exposing the weaknesses that live just below the surface of our daily lives, allowing us to discuss how to address them in meaningful ways. Issues like housing challenges, food insecurity, and education inequalities were exacerbated, for example. For some, COVID-19 brought about health and financial challenges that were decimating and we acknowledge the pain of our neighbors and friends. We also acknowledge that great obstacles create great opportunities - opportunities for growth and for coming together. 2020 could be viewed as the year that Fremont and Dodge County came together like never before.
As a community, we quickly found ways to support our most vulnerable residents. GFDC organized drive-by food giveaways in early March - an initiative that has been continued by our partners, with thousands of residents fed throughout the year. Our local banks went to bat for Dodge County businesses, helping them to secure vital PPE funding when businesses throughout the country were struggling to do so. GFDC earmarked funds to support frontline workers, providing food and financial support to help keep them going. GFDC, non-profit organizations, community volunteers, and business leaders all worked together to support our first responders and medical professionals, community members in need, the elderly, and businesses who were struggling. In 2020, we came together and rose above our challenges through strategic planning, collaboration, and sheer grit. Through all obstacles - Here. We. Grow.
And that’s exactly what we did in 2020 - grow. While communities throughout the country were reeling from job losses and company closures - we grew, attracting over $1.5 billion in investment. Business expansion and capital investment continued with companies like Wholestone Farms, RTG Medical, and Ele Metal all expanding, just to name a few. Our housing starts have continued at a record pace as well. In 2018, our housing study showed we needed an additional 1,500 units. We will have 3,000. Fremont Commons, Morningside Point, and Bluestone Commons are all examples of housing development that has continued in 2020.
This sustained growth was possible because we had put our strategic plan in action long before COVID-19 arrived. This forward-thinking approach is exactly why we need GFDC, our investors, and partners to continue looking ahead to what’s next for Fremont and Dodge County. By focusing on our four pillars of Business Attraction, Business Retention and Expansion, Workforce Development, and Quality of Life, we can sustain disruptions to our life and economy, and be confident that bright days ahead.
Chris Walz, Chairman