EDA and Community Development Director Jamie Scheffer parted ways with St. James at the end of December after four years. She accepted an Economic Development Coordinator position with the City of Burnsville and is looking forward to living near her family again.

Despite the excitement for this new adventure, "I'm very sad to leave the great people I have worked and have become friends with. St. James will always hold a special place in my heart," said Scheffer.

It's been an honor for her to work for the City of St. James, where she's grown to appreciate the EDA and the Council's willingness to take more progressive approaches. Projects include the Spec building and the Art Place Community Development Initiative. The Spec building was first pitched to the city council in June of 2017 as a 20,000 square foot building in the Industrial Park to spur business development. The Art Place Community Development Initiative began in September of 2015 as a three-year award to the Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership (SWMHP) from ArtPlace America's Community Development Investments program. The award assisted the City to incorporate arts and cultural strategies into their ongoing work with the community. A Healthy Housing Initiative, downtown art, and Plaza de St. James were the result.

"I know that St. James is going to continue moving the needle forward and getting things done because this community is filled with the most passionate, caring, and hardworking people I have ever met," said Scheffer.

Scheffer sees something special within St. James. There are several "community champions," willingness to rally behind a cause and be there for one another. The EDA, Planning Commission, and the City Council are remaining flexible and innovative in their decision making, filling some vacant downtown spaces in a challenging time where retail trends are shifting.

"Having an open mind is one of the ingredients to success–I applaud them for that," said Scheffer. "I also would like to publicly thank all of the fellow department heads that I have worked with. They are an amazing group of individuals, and the City is in good hands."