Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood does not hold back when expressing his enthusiasm for the prospect of Cervus Equipment setting up shop in the municipality.
“I think this is one of the greatest things we’ve seen happen in a long time,” said Wood, on Tuesday shortly before council unanimously approved a developer permit for Cervus’ new agricultural supply depot on the east side of Highway 2 just north of the Highway 42 interchange.
The mayor said the business will not only provide tax revenues and jobs, but it signals investor confidence in the county, which has been aggressively pursuing economic development opportunities as evidenced by the Junction 42 commercial development not far from the Cervus site.
“Cervus could have chosen anywhere and they chose here,” said the mayor. “We’re excited and it fits in with the theme of Red Deer County as very rural-based.”
The new business will provide sales and service for agricultural equipment and will be located on a 13-acre site once home to a seed cleaning plant.
Wood said where one farm dealership goes others often soon follow and he has high hopes that the location will become a destination location for rural buyers.
“We’re very optimistic we’re going to see similar kinds of businesses down the road.”
Meanwhile, since it opened in 2018, Junction 42 has been growing steadily.
Last October, the rest area east of Penhold that includes a gas bar, restaurants and other businesses next to a giant parking lot recorded its 100,000th visitor. Sensors built into the parking lot has allowed the county to keep a detailed traffic count.
The rest area includes a gas station, fast food restaurant and other businesses, along with a huge parking lot with high-speed Wifi for visitors.
In all, 10 quarter sections are available for development at the site.
“We’re extremely happy with Junction 42,” said the mayor, adding that he expects businesses to be coming forward with some more announcements soon.