Efforts to create five-county economic development district move forward | CraigDailyPress.com

Efforts to create five-county economic development district move forward

CRAIG — An effort to create an economic development district in Northwest Colorado is one step closer following a work session held Monday.

“Economic development districts are multi-jurisdictional entities, commonly composed of multiple counties. They help lead the locally based, regionally driven economic development process that leverages the involvement of the public, private and nonprofit sectors to establish a strategic blueprint for regional collaboration,” according to the U.S. Economic Development Administration.

Associated Governments of Northwest Colorado is leading the effort to develop an economic development district for five counties in Northwest Colorado.

Executive Director Bonnie Peterson said Monday’s session was the third of five county-level meetings, all part of an effort to create a comprehensive economic development strategy.

She, along with AGNC Program Administrator Tiffany Pehl and assistance from Patti Snidow from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, convened a working group in Moffat County for a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats, or SWOT, analysis. Once all five county-level SWOTs are completed, Peterson expects to be able to identify commonalities to indicate how all five counties might work together.

CEDS is one requirement for applying to the EDA for status as an economic development district. Federal district designation should create opportunities to leverage funding, access technical support and attract investment.

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“Between financial year 2012 and 2016, EDA has invested nearly $1.4 billion in 3,244 projects,” according to the EDA website.

AGNC will offer an initial draft of the CEDS during a regional meeting, expected to be held in Moffat County in August. The draft will undergo a 30-day comment period before it is submitted to EDA with the application for district designation.