During Gov. Brian Sandoval’s time in office, he moved to establish at least three regional economic development authorities to — in essence — help every corner of the state keep or attract businesses.
For years in Churchill County, the Churchill Economic Development Authority (CEDA) served as the agency to bring in new businesses. Under Shirley Walker’s guidance in the 1990s, CEDA attracted several large firms to the area including a joist plant west of Fallon.
For the past decade, though, CEDA has lost most of its swagger. When the joist plant closed under the prior ownership, New Millennium approached the city of Fallon to inquire about the building. Likewise, our area’s dairymen were successful in having the Dairy Farmers of America build a plant.
In the meantime, though, the county commissioners decided to move closer to the Northern Nevada Development Authority, while the city still kept faith in CEDA. Times are changing for CEDA, though, with a fresh attitude, a reinvigorated swagger and a new director who is reaching out to area businessmen and women by asking them what major issues face Churchill County.
Former councilwoman Rachel Dahl said CEDA’s goal is to promote the area with economic growth and jobs and to protect the existing businesses we have in the county. Along with the Highway 95 Regional Development Authority to promote Mineral, Churchill and Pershing counties, it is Dahl’s hope that central Nevada can work together.
While it appears Dahl has her work cut out, she and CEDA have nothing to lose. NNDA, from what we have seen, has given nothing but lip service to Churchill County and appears to work harder for Carson City and Douglas County. Ironically, the county decided to spend more than $90,000 for NNDA to do an economic development study on Churchill County. The study will only mean something if NNDA follows through.
Additionally, the governor must reassess the effectiveness of the regional development authorities and admit they are not doing what he envisioned. For most of rural Nevada, they are not working. NNDA throws an occasional bone to keep the rural counties from nibbling at the authority’s heels.
For CEDA to be successful, the Churchill County business and education community must show strong support to make the local authority a major player in attracting new firms to the area.
Dahl has a big task ahead of her, but if anyone can get the job done, she has the insight and savvy to make it work.
Editorials written by the LVN Editorial Board appear on Wednesdays.