Milbank has been selected as South Dakota’s 2023 Community of the Year by the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Governor Kristi Noem announced the award at the GOED’s annual Sioux Falls Convention Center conference on April 25.
Kristi Atyeo-Gortmaker, executive director of the Grant County Development Corporation, attended the two-day conference and accepted the award on behalf of Milbank. Pat Raffety, mayor of Milbank; John Forman, administrator for the City of Milbank; and the Grant County Development Corporation’s board of directors also attended the awards luncheon.
The Community of the Year award honors a city that has made strides in economic development, community enhancement, job creation, and quality of life. GOED noted that Valley Queen’s upcoming $200 million expansion, the $6.4 million American Legion baseball and soccer field that is to be completed in 2025, and several housing projects in various stages of development were instrumental in its decision. The agency also mentioned Dakota Granite, Big Sioux Pork, United Hardware, Saputo Cheese, and the dairy industry surrounding Milbank.
Atyeo-Gortmaker said she was surprised when she was notified that Milbank was chosen as the Community of the Year. “The agency had visited Milbank and created a video highlighting its growth and development, but I assumed they were making one for every city.” She added although she is the executive director of Grant County Development, progress has only been possible because of team and community input and effort. “Everyone in Milbank has earned this honor, and we can all be proud of the direction we are heading.”
Top- Kristi Atyeo-Gortmaker. Bottom- Submitted Photo: Back row: Steve Westra Steve Nomeland Dave Hepper Kevin Kouba Pat Raffety Governor Noem. Front Row: John Forman Dave Hicks Bobbie Bohlen Krista Atyeo-Gortmaker Brian Sandvig
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