This month, Region 10 has issued two requests for proposals, both of which have resulted from collaboration among local stakeholders, and both of which will ultimately help meet longstanding West Central economic development needs.
The first Request for Proposal seeks assistance in the development of a Regional Broadband Implementation Blueprint for the six-county area served by Region 10, which consists of Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. The blueprint is intended to bring together and address key stakeholders, organizations and activities that will propel the region toward a final design and construction phase of Broadband expansion.
Broadband access and the implantation of abundant, redundant and affordable internet connectivity are the goals of the Broadband RFP, which is supported by an Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance Fund (EIAF) grant provided by the Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA).
Community partners on the Broadband effort have come from both the public and private sectors, Region 10 Executive Director Michelle Haynes said. Substandard internet access has long been identified as one of the major impediments to economic development on the Western Slope.
“You can see how important this is to the well-being of our communities,” Haynes said, “because we have had almost 100 percent participation from our member municipalities.”
The deadline for broadband implementation blueprint submittals is June 27, 2014.
The second RFP invites consultants to submit proposals for the creation of a detailed transit implementation plan based on the recommendations of the “Four County Study Update” (April 2013), which provides recommendations for improvements and expansions to transit service in Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. The deadline for transit submittals is July 1, 2014.
Both issues are of key importance to the future of the regional economy, Region 10 Regional Development Coordinator Jay Stooksberry said. For more information on either Request for Proposals, visit the Region 10 web site at http://www.region10.net/rfp/.
On July 9, Region 10 will share resources and tools for growing the regional economy, at an Economic Gardening Summit from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Holiday Inn Express on South Townsend. The event will be free to the public, and will include lunch.
“We will have representatives from the Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), and Elizabeth Garner of the Colorado State Demographers Office will speak to us about demographic trends,” Region 10 Executive Director Michelle Haynes said.
Others who will present at the Economic Gardening Summit include Pattie Snidow of USDA Rural Development, Haynes said.
“Information, tools and resources are available at the state and federal levels that our communities can take advantage of,” Region 10 Regional Development Coordinator Jay Stooksberry said. “It will be a wealth of information, packed into one day.
“These tools and resources can help us build the businesses that are already here.”
“If we invest in our communities, we will see a return,” Haynes said.
Alpine Bank is helping to sponsor the event. For more information or to RSVP for the Summit, visit region10.net/economicgardening.
Finally, Region 10 was honored with a Sector Partnership Award at Colorado Sector Summit II, hosted by the Colorado Workforce Development Center and held at Denver’s Marriott Hotel May 19-21. At the Sector Summit, regional teams from across Colorado gathered to explore partnerships designed to help key economic sectors grow while encouraging the development of workforce skills that meet local industry needs.
“The group from our region is very business-oriented,” Region 10 Executive Director Michelle Haynes said. “We are part of a championship team that has partnered with other entities, including those from the health and wellness and manufacturing sectors, to bring about change.”
Those two sectors were represented at the Summit by Montrose Memorial Hospital Program Director and Clinician Dean McCall, who serves on the Colorado Workforce Development Council, and Sandi Head, executive director of the Montrose Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
The regional team was honored at the Summit with a Sector Partnership Award for its culture of commitment.
“What really resonated with me was how very successful this platform has been in allowing us to work toward transparency and teamwork across entities and industries,” McCall said.
By embracing the hurdles, challenges and diverse dynamics of the region, entities can cooperate, rather than becoming overwhelmed by “silos” and bureaucracy, he noted.
“People want local control,” McCall said. “This platform offers control at a regional level, with support from the state–it is a great opportunity for us to capitalize on the incredible resources in our six-county region. We can step over the hurdles, and vault to the next level by leveraging resources.”
Sandi Head, who also attended the first Sector Summit in 2013, found it very beneficial to attend the second.
“Last year, we were learning a new language,” she said. “Now we have the opportunity to collaborate with other people, and launch two more sectors.”
Sectors Summit II was designed to help grow and expand sector partnerships across Colorado, and eventually, promote career tracks driven by the expressed needs of the industries.
Region 10’s role is to help facilitate the progress being made in this region by collaborating with other entities, Haynes said.
“We are starting the conversation, and then stepping back,” explained Region 10 Regional Development Coordinator Jay Stooksberry.