Vail Daily column: Colorado Blueprint 2.0 aligned with Eagle County goals
The Colorado Blueprint is the statewide strategy to spur Colorado’s economy, help businesses grow and attract new jobs to the state. The priority is the creation and retention of jobs and the expansion of companies throughout Colorado. This strategy was developed through a bottom-up process and focuses on growth in our key industries across all regions.
The Blueprint has given Colorado a framework to build a comprehensive economic development plan that aligns existing efforts and identifies opportunities for growth and focused investments.
This effort is aligned with our economic development goals in Eagle County, as we continue to focus on business retention and expansion efforts to help companies and organizations throughout the Vail Valley to succeed. Our community benefits when the Colorado economy is strong, and businesses in the Vail Valley benefit from alignment with local and state plans.
The quality of life, the mix of local businesses, a skilled workforce, a beautiful natural setting and the international name recognition provided by world-class ski resorts are invaluable underpinnings unique to our rural resort-based economy. Vail Valley Economic Development will continue to promote the long-term economic health of Eagle County and solidify an economic base that is strong, diverse and resilient.
As a region, we are internationally known for providing a classic Colorado lifestyle with year-round resorts and a unique high-alpine environment to guests from around the world and to locals alike. Our challenge is to grow and strengthen our economy in diverse, collaborative and sustainable ways. This challenge is aligned with the state effort through the Blueprint 2.0 project.
Blueprint for specialized initiatives
Gov. John Hickenlooper recently announced the next phase for the Colorado Blueprint 2.0 — Blueprint Initiatives. Again, the Blueprint is Colorado’s economic development effort and the 2.0 initiatives invite the state’s rural communities and regions to apply for specialized resources to help make their economies more robust.
“These initiatives are all outcomes of the informative roundtables we held in communities throughout the state last year,” said Hickenlooper. “We will be deploying the most requested resources across the state through Blueprint Initiatives.”
This is important to areas around the state, as non-metropolitan areas often lag behind the Front Range in many key economic indicators, including here in Eagle County. Vail Valley Partnership continues to work with regional and state partners to bring resources and opportunities to our communities and to our businesses to help them grow and prosper.
The Colorado Blueprint 2.0 will allow rural Colorado communities such as ours to apply for specialized resources from the Colorado Office of Economic Development, other state agencies and external partners to help address their own unique economic development issues. Regions and communities must apply through their local economic developer to ensure there is broad support in the community for the initiative. Applications for these resources are accepted through June 1. Selected communities will be announced in July for site visits accompanying the resources, with additional communities being selected for visits in 2017.
Resources communities can apply for:
• Grow your outdoor recreation industry.
• Strengthen your local business brand.
• Industry attraction initiative.
• Analyze competitive advantages.
• Tourism promotion and development.
• Incubator and accelerator best practices.
• Tiny homes community master plan.
• Creative Industries initiative.
• Adaptive reuse workshop.
• Community-led initiative.
Beginning Aug. 1 through the end of this year, the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade’s Executive Director Fiona Arnold and external partners will visit selected sites to connect them to the specialized resources for which they applied. Additional visits will take place in 2017.
Visit the Blueprint 2.0 website at http://www.advancecolorado.com/colorado-blueprint-20 to learn more about requirements and selection factors that the selection committee will consider when choosing community applications. The website also provides a list of local economic developers, including Vail Valley Partnership, to contact about pursuing a Blueprint Initiative application.
Kudos to the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade and Governor Hickenlooper for the Blueprint 2.0 initiatives and their focus on supporting rural communities. These support tools are available and we encourage community leaders and elected officials to check them out, decide if you’d like to pursue one (or more) and let us know, so we can help you secure support from the state.
Chris Romer is president and CEO of the Vail Valley Partnership.