City seeks $40,000 grant for an economic strategic plan

With economic development as a priority, Carson City supervisors on Thursday fully supported private-public efforts to come up with an economic strategic plan.

Supervisors unanimously blessed a proposal to apply for a $40,000 federal grant.

Grant funding, together with pledges from local builders and the chamber of commerce, would allow the city to hire a consultant to establish goals and objectives for Carson City's economic future.

A cross-section of leaders from City Hall, the education, building and business communities started meeting a month ago to determine the best way to decide what should go on the city's remaining buildable land.

Only about one-fourth of Carson City's developable land remains empty. After that, the city will have to rely on redevelopment and building higher buildings.

Carson City Community Development Director Walt Sullivan intends to have an application submitted to the Nevada's Community Development Block Grant program by March 12. The city will know if the $40,000 grant will be issued before July 1.

The future of economic development is on the Board of Supervisors short list of goals for the year.

"I think this is a timely application," said Supervisor Peter Livermore. "This can be a big starting point. It's a unique private and public partnership. This is a great opportunity to forge ahead with the community's future."

The committee meets again Wednesday when members will hear from a representative from the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C. The institute is the first organization the city is considering to undertake the legwork in the strategic planning.

But Mayor Ray Masayko and the manufacturing community have reservations about focusing too much attention on the Urban Land Institute.

"They may or may not be the only firm capable of doing this kind of work for us," Masayko said. "There are some other opportunities for us for some very successful and well done projects."

As chief recruiter to bring manufacturers to the Carson City area, Kris Holt believes the committee should detail the area's economic history and possible future before hiring a consultant.

"I don't know if the Urban Land Institute is the answer," said Holt, executive director of the Northern Nevada Development Authority. " There might be other groups out there we should take a look at."

Holt figures it would cost at least $100,000 to have the institute prepare an economic strategic plan, while he thinks a better plan can be prepared for as little as $15,000.

Ray Bacon, executive director of the Nevada Manufacturers Association, also was reluctant to sign on with the Urban Land Institute.

"I've seen stuff from the Urban Land Institute: some good, some not good," Bacon said. "I'm not comfortable with just one source."


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