A Message from Ross Branson, Executive Director of The Center:

Executive Director Branson (center, rear) greets attendees at the Indiana Association of Counties annual conference.

When we embarked on creating the Center for Infrastructure and Economic Development (The Center) nearly one year ago, we did so with the confidence that our mission of helping local governments develop balanced ordinances and comprehensive plans would be well received in communities across the country. Little did we know just how well received our organization and work would be taken and used in communities across the country.

            Early in our existence, Former Governor and Ambassador Terry Branstad of Iowa joined as our first National Co-Chair. We added staff in Iowa and Indiana and the teams began traveling their states and meeting with local officials to introduce them to The Center and offer our help and support. Core to The Center is to provide balanced information and credible experts on renewable energy and local policy. From the onset we brought on leaders in their fields, people like Connie Neininger in Indiana. We have continued to build out our team of policy experts and local economic development professionals to enhance the brain power of The Center to provide you with the best quality information. In recent months we have expanded our team and state capabilities bringing on staff in Kentucky, Kansas, Nebraska and Virginia. If you live and work if one of those states, you will hear from our team of experts very soon. And if you need us now, we are always ready to assist.

            Over the course of the last year, we have built an ordinance database showcasing ordinances for you and your community to consider. We have had well over 2,000 downloads of ordinances and we will continue to update our database and provide you with more options. Our team created two case studies for counties in Iowa and Indiana which showcase the positive impacts renewable energy projects have had on their communities. These case studies have been downloaded over 150 times and have garnered tens of thousands of views on our website.

            We produced policy documents, such as enhanced guidance on decommissioning best practices, guidance on how to address drainage tile with renewable projects and our policy teams are actively engaged in county ordinance review processes providing much needed guidance on matters of setbacks, decommissioning, visual impacts and other common siting standards. And we have more on the way. Our goal is to provide local officials with everything you need to address community concerns and questions around renewable energy and ordinance development.

            As we look back on this previous year, these examples are just a few of the many proud initiatives and work product from The Center, but the work is far from over. Our teams are traveling their states meeting with officials, attending conferences, providing critical assistance and helpful policy support. The Center will continue to produce useful case studies and policy materials that will aid you in your work. But we are only as useful as you help us to be. Please visit our website, www.centerforlocalpolicy.org, and reach out to our team if we can be of service to you. We welcome your feedback on how we can make The Center the go-to policy resource for local decision-makers.

Ross Branson

Executive Director