County launches economic development survey

The Big Horn County Commissioners are teaming up with Lovell, Inc., and Grow Big Horn County to create a county-wide strategic plan for economic development.

The county has retained Community Builders, Inc. (CBI), a Wyoming consulting firm, to assist with development of the strategic plan.  As part of the planning process, the team will be conducting an online survey in all of the communities in Big Horn County.

“We want to know what residents want for their local community,” said Jerry Ewen, chairman of the Board of County Commissioners.  “While there are some basic economic development functions that apply to all of us in Big Horn County, we think that there are different desires and visions in each community.”

“There is so much more to economic development than just recruiting businesses,” added Sue Taylor, CEO of Lovell, Inc., and Grow Big Horn County.  “By creating a comprehensive plan that address all of the building blocks of economic development, each community can work at its own pace and use the plan to create the future it wants.”

According to Joe Coyne, principal consultant with CBI, economic development strategies are commonly used by local governments and private organizations to encourage growth in a responsible manner.  “Most communities in Wyoming are currently investing in infrastructure to support growth.  Those towns and counties that are able to support a local economic development agency are also making significant efforts to help existing businesses grow,” Coyne said.

“Everyone has a stake in our future, and we would like to hear their thoughts,” added Taylor.  She encourages all local residents, workers, businesses, and property owners to take the online survey, which can be found at: www.surveymonkey.com/s/GrowBigHornCounty-CommunitySurvey.

The survey will close on March 20, 2014.  CBI will then compile all results and present them to the Big Horn County Commissioners and Lovell, Inc..  The planning team will then begin evaluating specific development projects, facilities, and scenarios for each community in Big Horn County.  The completed economic development strategy and implementation plan should be completed by May 31, 2014.

To pay for CBI’s development of the economic development strategy, Big Horn County successfully obtained a Business Ready Community Planning grant from the Wyoming Business Council of $37,500.  That grant is being matched with $12,500 from the towns of Lovell, Greybull, and Basin, and from Big Horn County.

Anyone interested in this project is asked to contact Lovell, Inc./Grow Big Horn County CEO Sue Taylor, (307) 548-6707, lovellinc@tctwest.net.