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I am executive director of the Region 9 Economic Development District of Southwest Colorado, www.scan.org. Part of our strategy is working with county economic development organizations (EDO) to effectively and efficiently provide services.
I met with the Archuleta County commissioners and Pagosa Springs Town Council about the status of the current Archuleta County economic development organization, (EDO) Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (CDC). I have also visited with citizens, members of the CDC and Chamber of Commerce on this issue. There is consensus the situation needs to be improved.
In discussions with the county and town, dues-paying members to Region 9, I requested and received permission to take a leadership role in restarting a county economic development organization (EDO). To assist in this effort, I asked specific people to serve on a transition team. The team has representatives from the county, town, Chamber of Commerce, the CDC and businesses. The team has met twice so far. The plan is to put together options for how an EDO could be organized, operated, staffed and the scope of work. Each option has a cost that community leaders will have to decide if there is enough value to justify the costs.
Part of my intent is to provide the transition team with an analysis of specific categories within economic development including “best practices” of what other EDO’s are doing. Take for example, business recruitment and relocation, which is what most people think of as economic development, even though it is only part of a comprehensive economic development strategy. I drafted a business recruitment and relocation strategic work plan for the team’s review and input and they gave me direction on forming a committee. As of this week, Region 9 staff is the contact on the CDC website. Another category is business retention and expansion, even more important than recruitment. I also drafted a business retention strategic work plan that the team is reviewing.
In the first transition team meeting, the CDC was discussed in depth. Even though there is baggage, the CDC has assets like the existing corporate structure in good standing; the 501(c)3 IRS tax designation; Enterprise Zone Project designation; website; funds on hand; etc. It would be expensive and time-consuming to re-create these. I communicated with CDC board members and volunteers about a corporate transition. At the second team meeting, it was decided that at least five people/organizations would apply to become members of the CDC, and then they would constitute a new board of directors. Drafting new by-laws that are more inclusive and strategic is one of the first orders of business.
Once we have drafts of new EDO by-laws as well as options for the strategic work plan, operations and budgets, we will schedule public meetings to seek further input and elect a new board. The team has a list of tasks with a time line for completion by the end of the year. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 247-9621.