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WATERTOWN, S.D. – Governor Kristi Noem was in Watertown, South Dakota, today to present the community with the “Large Community of the Year” award. Historically, the award is presented during the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) annual conference in the spring, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was cancelled.
“This award is long overdue but much deserved,” said Governor Noem. “This community responded to unique challenges and has taken their new slogan, ‘Grow Watertown’, to heart. They’re on pace to make Watertown stronger for the next generation, and I hope they can continue on the progress that they’ve made.”
“This award is an achievement of everyone in Watertown and Codington County,” said Chris Schilken, executive director of Watertown Development Company. “Growing a community is a team sport. Everyone from the residents, staff at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, our city leaders, educators, our investors, our board of directors and staff – we all wear the same jersey. We have worked together as a team to not only transform our community, but to upgrade our neighborhoods, enhance our amenities, grow jobs, and wages. We’ve come a long way, and we will strive to keep improving.”
Former South Dakota Governor Bill Janklow created the Community of the Year award in 1989 to show appreciation and recognition to communities that have made strides in economic development, community enhancements, added jobs and invested in quality of life for its residents. Watertown was named South Dakota’s first Community of the Year that year.