Garfield County awards $25,000 toward Rifle economic development
The Rifle Regional Economic Development Corporation’s efforts at providing COVID-19 assistance and to plan for the future of the new coworking space got a $25,000 boost from Garfield County on Monday.
County commissioners unanimously approved a request from new RREDC Executive Director Tyler Kelly for the county economic development grant.
The grant amount is to be matched by private donors, he said.
Kelly, who joined the organization in October, said in his annual report to the commissioners that the RREDC this year has provided forgivable loans and grants to area businesses, including several restaurants, to help during the COVID-19 restrictions.
“That has certainly made a difference for them in surviving this pandemic,” he said.
The organization is also planning for expanded use of the Rifle Cowork space on Third Street in 2021. Kelly noted that one possible result of people working from home during the pandemic is a transition away from traditional office spaces.
Coworking spaces, such as the one that opened its doors in Rifle in May 2019, could become more of an option for remote workers and start-up business ventures, he said.
Kelly also pointed to an influx of businesses and work-from-home professionals relocating to the Rifle area in the past year. That, in turn, has helped drive an increase in residential property sales and valuations, which itself is a form of economic development, he said.
“We encourage this kind of growth and economic vitality in our area,” Kelly said.
The RREDC operates as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, “focused on advancing economic development strategies and projects with the goal of job creation in western Garfield County,” according to a description on the RREDC website.
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Several Carbondale businesses are scrambling to relocate and others are just plain calling it quits following plans for one of the town’s oldest strip malls to be redeveloped.