Take 10 giant steps
October 23, 2006
Seven rural counties Carson City, Churchill, Douglas, Lyon, Mineral, Pershing and Storey will start to work together for economic growth if they take to heart a list of priority actions set forth by the consulting firm AngelouEconomics.
Angelos Angelou, principal in the firm based at Austin, Texas, presented the recommendations Friday following the nine-month NorthernNVision project study.
Priorities, he said, should include:
* Develop a strong support system for entrepreneurs and small business.
* Establish a workgroup for each of six target industries to determine what needs to be done to further develop these industries. The targeted industries are light advanced manufacturing, clean energy and bioagriculture, business and technology services, logistics and distribution, tourism and hospitality, regional health services.
* Expand efforts to attract and retain young professionals. Start by bringing young adults who already live in the region into the picture and have them determine how to create a culture conducive to their demographic.
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* Establish a business and education council to develop a long-term workforce plan for the region. Make it a cross-disciplinary council.
* Form a higher education task force to position satellite campuses in the seven-county region. Due to distance, potential students can’t commute in from the rural counties.
* Create facilities that nurture entrepreneurs, such as a business incubator. Such a program is already on the drawing board.
* Support the revitalization of key downtown areas in each of the seven rural counties.
* Endorse the creation of a cross-county recreation and open space master plan. This will not only boost the tourism industry, the consulting firm said, but also will enhance quality of life, a factor which attracts the professional class to an area. Create a commission to study this cross-county master plan.
* Spearhead a regional approach to economic development and create a model for seamless collaboration. All county agencies must work together.
* Work with regional partners to develop a national brand. All five economic development authorities would work cooperatively to determine the brand identity for northern Nevada. Each agency would have one vote, regardless of the population in the counties they represent, to make sure the rural agencies are heard and to guarantee regional buy-in.
Each priority recommended by the consulting firm comes with action items.
For instance, to improve the area’s business climate, the strategy calls for forming a task force to see how counties can streamline the hurdles regulations and requirements that a business must satisfy.
And how will the various committees come into being?
“We all need to sit down together to decide who will take the lead,” says Ron Weisinger, executive director of the Northern Nevada Economic Development Authority.
After two years, he adds, progress will have to be assessed to determine needed adjustments. For instance, he says, some of the target industries may have grown or declined nationally.
The full report is available on the Web site http://www.northernnvision.com.