The Anderson 400 Green Business Park will provide Quad-City and Iowa economic development leaders with a new tool to recruit businesses.
Just outside Princeton, Iowa, the 400-acre farm is in the final step of a three-step process to earn the state's green business park certification. The new certification is an offshoot of the industrial site certification offered by the Iowa Economic Development Authority, or IEDA.
Liz Murray Tallman, chief economic development officer of Quad-Cities First, an arm of the Quad-Cities Chamber, said the project will be a new type of regional asset to market to site consultants and companies.
"The Anderson project will help improve the Quad-Cities' competitive position in the world of site selection by having a one-of-a-kind certified site in its marketing tool box," she wrote in a letter of support for the Anderson 400 certification.
In fact, she said the Eastern Iowa Industrial Center in Davenport would not have landed the new Kraft Heinz plant had it not been for the state's certification indicating it was shovel-ready.
Amy Kuhlers, the program manager, said the state has certified a total of 25 sites since the program began in 2014 and has six new sites in some stage of certification, including the Anderson 400.
Of the certified sites, 24 are certified industrial sites and one has sold all its available property.
The Princeton property is the only one in the pipeline seeking green park certification, which is the only program of its kind nationwide, she said. The Woodward Eco Business Park was the first certified green park in Iowa.
While both certifications show developers the site is shovel-ready, Kuhlers said the green park certification focuses on sustainable, green building and retaining natural features that could be seen as impediments. For example, if a wetlands exists on a industrial site, she said it is considered undevelopable. But on a green site it becomes part of the landscape.
Kuhlers said the Andersons also are the first family to seek certification for a development. "We welcome anyone willing to go through the due diligence, but typically it is an economic development group or a city," she added.