Friday, November 5, 2010

Economic-growth groups to unite

Nonprofits to put their heads together in roundtable meeting


By TREVON MILLIARD
Express Staff Writer

The Wood River Valley's various economic development organizations will be doing something rare on Tuesday, Nov. 16: coming together for a unified meeting.

The city of Ketchum has organized the roundtable gathering, to be held in the River Run Lodge near Ketchum from 5:30-8:30 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to hear the goals of these nonprofits. The information will then be used as the first step in updating the Economic Development chapter of the city's comprehensive plan. The City Council has made the update a priority due to the plan's being a decade old, and the city has focused its effort on this chapter first in light of the economy.

"We are going to focus in this workshop on ends rather than means so we can accurately understand where common ground exists among all organizations," said Lisa Horowitz, director of Ketchum's Community and Economic Development Department.

The organizations will share their insights and provide ideas to the city on how to prioritize its goals. Future meetings will address strategies to achieve these goals and collaboration opportunities between the groups and the city.

In its final form, the updated Economic Development chapter will act as a roadmap, guiding Ketchum's and these independent groups' efforts, including the city's Urban Renewal Agency. The URA is separate from the city government and receives about half a million dollars in annual revenue from property taxes to fund city improvements.

The city has hired Tom Hudson to coordinate the chapter rewrite. Hudson, principal of planning, urban design and sustainable development for Seattle consulting firm Collins Woerman Hudson, is one of the key creators behind Ketchum's downtown master plan, the Urban Renewal Agency and the Ketchum Community Development Corp. The chapter will take five months to update and will cost at most $50,000.

Hudson won't just create a plan of what the city would like to do to improve its economy; he will also develop an action plan laying out who will do what and how. For that reason, the input of the area's economic development organizations will be important, because the city will partner with them in concerted efforts.

Trevon Milliard: tmilliard@mtexpress.com




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