Businesses located along the Interstate 29-Highway 34 corridor were among the hardest hit by the floods of 2019. More than a year later, many businesses have yet to come back.

(Glenwood) -- Coming into a new job is always challenging.

But, Mills County's new economic development director faces the dubious task of attempting to lure new businesses and industries to an area rocked by disasters two years in a row. The Mills County Economic Development Board recently hired Marco Floreani as its new director. Speaking on a recent edition of KMA's "Morning Line" program, Floreani acknowledged that recruiting development opportunities is a challenge, as the county is still recovering from the Missouri River floods of 2019, as well as the continuing coronavirus pandemic.

"One, it's harder to bring people together right now," said Floreani. "But, if you build some consensus around things, you can still do it. There's a lot of tools out there. A lot of companies are also treading water out there, too, so maybe not looking to expand. But, there's an opportunity to attract companies, too, that are vital to that supply chain."

One particular area of concern is the Interstate 29-Highway 34 corridor, where some businesses that closed before last year's flooding have not reopened.

"It's going to take a lot of work, you know, to reduce the risk of having a flood like that," he said. "It's difficult. And, it's going to take working with a lot of partners on both sides (of the river)--the Nebraska side, the Iowa side, the federal side, to make sure they do everything they can to improve those levees, and certify the area, and literally reduce the risk people perceive for building in that area. But, we just need to address that, and hopefully, we can attract some companies, and slowly we start to see some economic opportunities happen there."

Floreani says Mills County has the amenities to overcome any hangover from the flooding and COVID-19. In addition, he says the floods and the virus have evened the playing field in terms of economic development.

"Everybody's working for home right now," said Floreani. "It doesn't quite matter where you're located in some ways. If you have connections with the internet, you can get the job done. So, I think there's a number of connections that make Mills (County) stand out."

You can hear the full interview with Marco Floreani on our "Morning Line" page at kmaland.com.

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