The Development Board began as a group of business leaders in 1919. The group eventually became the State Chamber of Commerce, but it attracted the support and financial backing of state government. In 1938 the State Planning Board was created and in 1945 the Development Board became the governing board of the Department of Research, Development, and Planning.

The department’s activities were separated from the Department of Agriculture and Commerce. Its mission was to establish an adequate state-wide planning program and a state-wide program for the stimulation of economic activity to develop the potentialities of the state. In 1954 the name changed to State Development Board to foster development activity to sustain the state economy and attract industry. In 1993 the Department of Development became a division of the State Department of Commerce.

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