Economic development plan moves forward
Local government officials and community leaders have been talking the talk about economic development for years.
Now they are walking the walk.
About two dozen people signed up Thursday for specific tasks that will be assigned over the next 30 days by Chabin Concepts to help boost the economy.
The implementation plan includes site development, marketing, incentive development, Web site design and community outreach, according to Vicki Doll, Chabin's principal planner.
"There is a lot of work to be done," Doll said at the economic development workshop in Williams. "Crafting a 'how to' plan will only work if people are willing to do the work."
Colusa County, Williams and Colusa officials contracted with the Chico-based planning consultants in April to develop a successful "roadmap" that will help local governments create a positive identity for Colusa County, and better position the region as a business-friendly community.
Members of the Williams and Colusa city councils, planning commissions, historical preservations committee, county leaders and several others said they will accept the tools, strategies and resources made available by the consultant to get it done.
"It's going to take all of us working together," said Colusa County Supervisor Kim Dolbow Vann.
Dolbow Vann said Arbuckle used a similar implementation plan developed by Chabin Concepts to revitalize the community — and with great success, including park development and the lighting of the little league field.
"We had five tournaments this year that brought thousands of people to Arbuckle," she said.
In May, Chabin consultants visited local businesses, looked over infrastructure and empty lots, and engaged key stakeholders and the community at large to get an idea of what needed to be done to strengthen the economic vitality of the county and cities.
At the time, the consultants had harsh criticism for the county's overall lack of effort to attract new businesses, the county's poorly designed Web site and lack of cooperation between city and county agencies.
On Thursday, however, the same consultants noted significant progress including efforts by the cities to form redevelopment agencies, progress on the county general plan update, use of federal stimulus money to improve roads and infrastructure, community college under construction, progress on Rotary's Fifth Street River Park and other projects moving forward.
The consultants also noted the county had valuable assets upon which to build, such as available land, rural lifestyles, historic buildings, unique restaurants, adequate highway system, available labor and tourism opportunities.
The committees established Thursday will work on a strategic plan over the next 30 to 90 days.
Chabin consultant Allison Larsen said the current downturn in the economy is actually a good time for the cities and county to work on economic development.
"That way you're prepared when things start picking up again," Larsen said.
People wishing to be part on an economic development team are encouraged to contact their local officials.
"We need people to be involved," Vann said.
HOW TO HELP
Volunteers needed to help implement economic development strategies.
CONTACT: Colusa County: Kim Dolbow Vann, supervisor, 458-0508.
COLUSA: Jan McClintock, city manager, 458-4740, ext. 105.
WILLIAMS: Chuck Bergson, city administrator, 473-2955.
Contact Susan Meeker at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.