|2/8/2013 12:29:00 PM|
Economic district funnels grants to job creators
|Entiat waterfront gets EDD support|
|By Vince Lovato|
For the third straight year, Entiat's waterfront development project remains one of the top priorities for the NCW Economic Development District.
The district's primary focus is to create jobs in Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties and Entiat's aggressive and well-planned waterfront continues to impress district policy makers.
"It's up and moving and anyone who has driven through Entiat, and I've been a neighbor of Entiat for almost 70 years, should be excited," said Wendy Isenhart. Chelan City Council member and newly elected district secretary. "That poor town has been moved around and shuffled around and lost its way, but there always has been a beating heart of the people who live there and love it."
With a shoestring budget and great vision, Entiat managed to use grants and other funding sources to bring the project from concept to a plan.
"I think its blossoming and they are doing it right. They sat back to see what everyone else is doing and came into their own niche," Isenhart said. "How they are financing it is very cutting edge."
Like many others, Isenhart believes much of the success was driven by Entiat City Community Development Director Susan Driver.
"She is personable and honest," Isenhart said. "And the cold, hard facts are that this is going to happen. There will be jobs there and that's what (the district) is up to."
Being on the district's priority list is important, Driver said.
"If we apply for federal dollars from the (U.S.) Economic Development Administration, a listing in the local (Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy) document is required for eligibility," Driver said. "The standing means that we can show local support as a priority economic development project when we apply for funding from state and federal agencies."
In 2012, Entiat received a small district matching-funds grant for its marina project.
The district must submit a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy document annually to the Economic Development Administration.
The district's CEDS Plan focuses on 5 Objectives:
Facilitating communications to identify shared strategies
Identifying projects of regional economic significance
Facilitating regional entrepreneurship
The other priority projects - Wenatchee's Pybus Market, the TwispWorks Facility Development, the NCW Economic Summit and Omak's Stampede Arena all meet those criteria.
The district's website is www.ncwedd.com and includes the CEDS requirements.
If an organization wants to create jobs in North Central Washington, it will probably need the help of the NCW Economic Development District.
The district, which includes Chelan, Douglas and Okanogan counties and the Colville Confederated Tribe, is a federally designated economic development district responsible for strategy and planning, and collaborates with various private and public agencies, according to administrator Jennifer Korfiatis.
The district unites the private and public sectors to provide a coordinated strategy and program and has become a driving force, she said.
Officers represent an eclectic blend of policy makers that insures balanced representation of all the district's entities.
The district's officers for 2013 are: Chairman Mark Spurgeon, Port of Douglas County; Vice Chair Karen Rutherford, city of Wenatchee; Secretary Wendy Isenhart, city of Chelan; and Treasurer Russell Clark, Mayor of Rock Island.
"We're involved in a lot of stuff and it's about trying to lure jobs to these counties," Isenhart said. "We try to find and funnel dollars to people who are trying to make jobs, and most of them are in tourism. But we need more involvement from the public."
The district is accepting one-page letters of inquiry for project support through Feb. 11.
The city of Chelan will file a request to fund an electric car-charging station - one or two of the 20-minute fast rechargers - to entice owners of alternative-fuel cars to come to and through Chelan, Isenhart said.
The district hopes to promote and extend the electrification of U.S. Highway 97 (including 97A) from Seattle to the Canadian border.
Isenhart said she met recently with Mayor Bob Goedde and city financial director Cheryl Grant to discuss the application.
"We are combining efforts to push regional recognition as a great travel experience for wine lovers, foodies, outdoor recreationists and people who just like to see spectacular scenery and visit great small towns, like Chelan," Isenhart said. "So there has been an increasing emphasis on regional tourism as the rising tide that will lift all of us."
To date, the district secured $765,000 in grant and low-interest loan funding for a variety of regional projects.
A district committee will review and invite appropriate projects to submit a full application. Projects will be ranked, in part, based on: Measurable regional economic benefits, measurable community benefits, fully developed plan and strategy, alignment with district goals and objectives, local and regional support.
The district officers meet at 8:45 a.m. on the second Wednesday of each month at Chelan City Council Chambers. The meetings are open to the public.
Contact Korfiatis at 509-682-6907 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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