EDP considering regional partnerships for federal grant | CraigDailyPress.com

EDP considering regional partnerships for federal grant

Joe Moylan

It's been a busy few months since Betsy Nauman Cook took over as director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership.

In addition to moving into new office space March 12 at Colorado Northwestern Community College's Bell Tower, conducting her 25th business counseling appointment, and aiming to "pull the trigger" on the Office of Economic Development and International Trade grant April 2 to get the business incubator off the ground, Cook said she recently discovered a new federal grant available to assist with regional economic development.

The grant opportunity is offered through the Economic Development Administration, a branch of the United States Department of Commerce, and was brought to Cook's attention by OEDIT Recruiting Manager Darcy Owens-Trask.

But, EDP would not be able to apply for the grant on its own.

EDA funding is intended to be used by partnerships, which would require fostering relationships with other economic development entities in Northwest Colorado and the creation of a new, regional organization.

"When you applied for grants (in the past) you did it on your own," Cook said. "What we've seen since the recession is the partner thing is the way to go. The people that are partnering, even unlikely partnerships, are having the most success getting grant money."

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The grant is designed to provide funds for planning and technical assistance, Cook said. Communities that have utilized EDA money typically do so in conjunction with a 10-, 15-, or 20-year economic development plan.

Successful applicants are usually awarded up to $250,000 in the first year with opportunities to reapply for additional funds during the course of executing the plan.

On Tuesday, Cook met with Tom Kern, CEO of the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, to gauge his interest. The two discussed approaching economic development organizations in Oak Creek, Hayden, South Routt County and others in the region as well.

Cook was quick to cutoff any potential concerns about a partnership by highlighting the many demographic features that unite the cities and counties of the region.

"We're connected by the role of oil and natural gas, mining and energy, environmental testing, outdoor recreation, broadband, transportation, communication between agencies, ability for location neutral businesses, and tourism," Cook said. "Although not Craig or Moffat County specific, this could be a big boost to economic development in the entire region."

There's no rush to apply for the grant because enrollment is open throughout the year, Cook said. Also, OEDIT officials have said the organization would assist regional groups with writing the grant once established.

Cook said she will reach out to other economic development organizations in the region, but serious discussion about a partnership may not take place until Sam Bailey, OEDIT business development relationship manager, Trask and other OEDIT members visit Hayden on April 20 for a luncheon at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or jmoylan@craigdailypress.com.

Quotable:

“We’re connected by the role of oil and natural gas, mining and energy, environmental testing, outdoor recreation, broadband, transportation, communication between agencies, ability for location neutral businesses, and tourism. Although not Craig or Moffat County specific, this could be a big boost to economic development in the entire region.”

— Betsy Nauman Cook, director of the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership

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