EDP enacts growth plan

Funds raised from expanding membership in the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership set two plans in motion Wednesday -- one to garner more members and another to garner new businesses.

Partnership board members approved action plans for spurring economic development and membership.

Two priorities were set for economic development: business retention and development and business recruitment.

Through its growing local business grant program, EDP members have taken the first step in cultivating existing businesses. Ten businesses were awarded funds to hire marketing or business consultants. Part of the EDP's goal is to continue the program by securing another round of U.S. Department of Agriculture funds that are passed on to local businesses.

"People are already calling to get in next year," EDP Director Tom Flavin said.

The second part of retaining businesses will be to implement a downtown revitalization program, which includes surveying people to track their purchasing habits and brainstorming potential activities to draw customers.

"This will help existing retailers understand what customers are buying," Flavin said. "That would make it easier for them and give them new marketing opportunities."

The key to the EDP's business recruitment program, Flavin said, is assessing how competitive Moffat County is regionally, addressing the cost and ease of doing business, infrastructure issues, building and site availability and local incentives.

"These are issues we need to address and understand and determine our position with regard to other areas that are competing for the same dollars," he said.

Flavin and EDP board chairman Scott Cook met with City Manager Jim Ferree and Moffat County Commissioner Les Hampton on Tuesday in the first "competitiveness" meeting.

"We need to keep our eyes and ears open to any problems (businesses) may have with government so that we can head them off," Cook said.

The group will continue to target oil and gas industry-related businesses as well as tourism opportunities.

The EDP has signed up 15 new members.

Christina M. Currie can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 210 or by e-mail at ccurrie@craigdailypress.com.

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