MONTROSE – U.S. Rep. John Salazar announced last week that the Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning will receive a $61,000 Economic Development Administration Partnership Planning Grant for economic development in Delta, Hinsdale, Gunnison, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties.
Specifically, the federal funding will support the development and implementation of a comprehensive economic strategy and bring together public and private sectors to form an economic development roadmap for diversifying and strengthening the region’s economy.
“This funding will help Region 10 continue its efforts to foster a business friendly environment in Delta, Gunnison, Hinsdale, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties,” Salazar said in a July 15 press release to The Watch. “Hopefully this funding will help develop and cultivate private capital investment and job creation in the region. I’m glad to support funding for programs like these, programs that grow our economy and put Coloradoans to work.”
According to Region 10 Executive Director Paul Gray, as a designated economic development district for six counties in western Colorado, Region 10 will set aside $31,000 in grant money to develop and maintain an overall economic development strategy for the entire region with the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.
“In this difficult economy, discussions among our region’s elected officials and citizens are vital to identify and document proven economic development strategies and new strategies with promise as a guide to local economic development efforts,” Gray said. “The comprehensive strategy is something we have to update every year and create annual objectives related to it.”
Of the remaining $30,000 in grant funds, $10,000 will go to Region 10’s Business Loan Fund, which loans money at favorable interest rates to new and existing small businesses. Another $10,000 will go to Region 10’s Montrose Enterprise Center and Enterprise Zone Business Tax Credit program, which authorizes state income tax credits for capital investment, new hires, job training, and health coverage. The Enterprise Center assists 19 small businesses and nonprofits by leasing offices to them at low rates in Montrose.
“These programs and services could not function without the EDA Planning Partnership Grant, so on behalf of the Region 10 Board of Directors, allow me to express our sincere appreciation,” Gray said.
Finally, $10,000 in funds will support the development of the Regional Transit Coordinating Council, supplementing a recent $15,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Transportation.
According to Gray, transit planning is a new initiative for Region 10 this year. Region 10 has long operated the Gunnison Valley Transportation Region, which is mandated to develop a long-range transportation plan for the six counties it serves every five years, as well as recommend regional highway project priorities for CDOT’s State Transportation Improvement Plan.
A new Regional Transit Coordinating Council is being developed under CDOT guidelines with the assistance of the $15,000-CDOT grant and $10,000 from the EDA grant. The council is meant to provide a regional forum for discussing transit needs, conduct transit studies, and seek grants on a regional basis. The RTCC will include representatives from four county Transit Advisory Committees in Delta, Montrose, Ouray, and San Miguel counties. Representatives of the four counties, as well as All Points Transit and Telluride Express, have worked together for the last several months to develop the RTCC. Currently, the four counties are appointing their TAC representatives, and Region 10’s Board is scheduled to formally establish the RTCC at its August meeting.
“The whole idea here is to get more of an emphasis on transit and transit planning,” Gray said. “It will give transit a regional push, not just county by county. As a region, we will have a stronger presence.”
For more information on Region 10 and the services and programs it provides, visit region10.net.