Over $ 1.7M donated to small businesses, quality of life projects in Williston through the STAR Fund

BISMARCK, ND (KFYR) – The goal of economic development is to help attract and support businesses and organizations that improve communities. Williston Economic Development does this through its STAR fund, which has served the city well in 2021.

Using a portion of the city’s 1% sales tax, Economic Development has helped small businesses start or grow or improve the quality of life that makes Williston a better place to call home.

From boutiques to new restaurants and projects of the future, Williston Economic Development has had a busy and successful year despite the ongoing pandemic.

“We saw that we had the potential for a really good rebound, especially in small business development, so we wanted to go full speed ahead in 2021,” said Shawn Wenko, executive director of Williston Economic Development.

This year, Développement économique has set a goal of providing STAR funds to at least seven new commercial projects, seven expansions and seven quality of life projects, known as “21 in 2021”. That annual target was surpassed in August and executive director Shawn Wenko said more than $ 1.7 million has been allocated this year. He added that this was a kind of “catching up” to the region’s overall growth over the past 10 years.

“The demographics have changed in Williston. The average age has dropped considerably. It brings different wants and needs and so that’s really what drives demand for small businesses, ”Wenko said.

Wenko added that the STAR fund this year also includes several daycares that he says will accommodate up to 175 children next year.

With bigger projects to come in Williston and Williams County, like the Cerilon GTL plant and Williston Square, Wenko said he expects another solid year of economic development for the city.

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