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Madison – Small town feel, big-city amenities

Madison’s quality of life is what many believe is their greatest asset. From parks and recreation to a strong education system, and top-notch healthcare, the city’s sign encourages everyone coming into town to, “Discover the Unexpected.”

One major unexpected in Madison is their multi-million-dollar college campus Dakota State University (DSU). DSU offers dozens of different degrees and programs but is known worldwide for their dominance in cyber security. So much so, that recently Governor Kristi Noem signed two bills into law, paving the way for a transformative cyber-research initiative in the state. The investment into the college and cyber program will allow for the number of graduates to double.

“Now we have the opportunity to do something quite extraordinary,” said DSU President José-Marie Griffiths, “something that will establish the cyber-research industry in South Dakota.”

She explained that DSU wants to not only bring people to Madison but keep them here.

“We want to educate South Dakota students and keep them here. Let’s make ourselves a hub,” she said.

As the college continues to grow and make its mark on the world when it comes to education, Madison is also growing. Another one of the town’s unexpected benefits is the large business district with over 300 companies. The community’s economic development has propelled both Madison and Lake County towards continued success.

According to Brooke Rollag, Executive Director of Lake Area Improvement Corporation (LAIC), Madison’s industrial park has changed greatly since its inception in 2009 when they began moving dirt. Today, the park is nearly full, with 20 companies calling the industrial park home.

“Whether it be business expansions or new businesses coming to town, we are proud of the opportunities the development has offered,” Rollag said.

She noted too that LAIC isn’t targeting specific businesses but is open to hearing what people’s passion is and how they can help facilitate that.

One way that LAIC helps further growth in the area is through their Intermediary Re-Lending (IRP) Loan Fund. Throughout the life of the program, over 330 jobs have been created or saved. Fourteen loans, totaling over $1.5 million, have been utilized since IRP’s inception in 2007.

Another project that LAIC is working hard to address is the community’s need for housing. A housing study, to be completed this fall, will give the group the data on where the demand lies.

“Based on limited homes available on the market and next to no rentals available, we know all housing is needed,” Rollag said.

As the town continues to grow and succeed, Rollag is excited to see what happens next for Madison.

She added, “We are a business-friendly community. Spin-off companies from DSU’s cyber initiative to value-added ag, to manufacturing facilities, are all welcome!”

South Dakota Governor’s Office of Economic Development

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