COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
Carol became Willard’s first Community Development Director on March 1, 2022. She started her career in the economic development profession in 2001, earning her Economic Development Finance Professional certification in 2002. Her expertise and prior experience in the field of economic development has proved very beneficial to the Willard community.
The Willard Community Development Department is a public-private partnership between the City of Willard, the Willard Area Economic Development Corporation (WAEDC), the Willard Area Chamber of Commerce, and the United Fund of Willard, Inc.
These stakeholder organizations recognized the benefit of having an individual (or department) dedicating efforts entirely to the economic growth and betterment of the City of Willard and coordinating and assisting the existing committees and organizations that work so hard to improve and enhance the community.
Community Development projects and activities are determined and prioritized by the stakeholder organizations. The Director reports to City Manager Bryson Hamons.
A lot has been accomplished since March 1, 2022!
With the assistance and guidance of James Pomerich, Carol developed the Economic Development webpages to share information on the department's development efforts and progress.
Available Buildings & Sites
Identifying all available buildings and sites in Willard for economic development opportunities has taken place and will be an ongoing process. Information has been verified on all known available properties. Those properties have been added to the State database of available buildings and sites and are now included on our website. If you have information on commercial or industrial property available for lease or sale, please contact Carol Knapp.
Community Reinvestment Area (CRA)
Carol administers the Willard CRA as part of her Community Development responsibilities. See the CRA page for additional information.
Community Improvement Corporation (CIC)
Carol created and administers the Willard CIC as part of her Community Development responsibilities. The CIC is governed by the Board of Directors. See CIC page for additional information.
Wonderful World of Willard
Carol created the Wonderful World of Willard - a weekly post from the Willard Community Development Department celebrating positive news and information about the wonderful community we call home! Facebook posts are usually made on Wednesdays and then added to our website page.
Willard Business Beat
Carol created the Willard Business Beat to spotlight our business gems here in Willard. We have so many wonderful businesses and welcome the opportunity to share their stories with the community! Featured articles are shared on social media and then added to our website.
Business Startup Assistance
Carol has considerable experience in assisting new business startups. Business plan development, business application filing assistance, business location assistance, and connections to financial institutions for potential funding assistance are all offered to Willard citizens or individuals wanting to start a new business in Willard by the Willard Community Development Department.
Asset Mapping is an Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD) practice for discovering community assets and creating an inventory that can be drawn upon for strengthening a community. It is a map of a community’s value that helps to build a vibrant community based on its strengths. The idea is to identify all the assets or strengths of the community and then build upon those assets or strengths. The asset can be brick and mortar, an institution, a group, an individual - anything that brings value to the community.
Carol recently completed an asset mapping exercise with input from the community. Check the Wonderful World of Willard posts as we share these assets!
Please don't hesitate to give Carol a call if you have any questions!