Who and what is the RREDC?
As president of the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. (RREDC), I want to take this opportunity to let you know about the efforts of our public/private partnership to develop the economy of Western Garfield County. There is a lot the RREDC has been doing and will continue to do to improve our quality of life here in the county.
So what is economic development and why is it necessary? Economic development, by definition, is an ongoing strategic effort by policy makers and community leaders to promote the standard of living and economic health of a given region. The process creates an environment where deliberate attention toward producing positive development strategies has the full attention of policy makers, business owners and citizens in a community.
In 2007, the RREDC was formed to develop economic development strategies and projects that would bring jobs to Western Garfield County, as well as improve and sustain the quality of living in this area. As anyone who lived in the area back in 1982 knows, energy extraction has been a big part of our past. But it has also left us susceptible to the boom and bust cycle we are all too familiar with.
The goal of the RREDC is to broaden our economic base and champion those projects and programs that would make Western Garfield County attractive to businesses looking to relocate to the area and that help current businesses attract the best talent to strengthen their ability to succeed.
In this mission, there has been some confusion about what the RREDC is and who we represent. The corporation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. We receive funding through dues from our member municipalities and through contributions from citizens and corporate sponsors. As the official economic development agency in Western Garfield County, the RREDC is a registered Northwest Colorado Enterprise Zone Contribution Project.
An enterprise zone is a state-designated area in need of economic growth and diversification. It provides state income tax credits to encourage the private sector to invest resources to create or maintain jobs within the area.
Our office is in Rifle, but we serve all the communities in Western Garfield County, from New Castle to Parachute. I encourage you to take a look at our website, rifleedc.com, to review our current board of directors, which includes business professionals and elected officials from across this area.
What we are not, however, is exclusively focused on one municipality or industry. We want to make this area a thriving, economically balanced region that can support our lifestyle and avoid the stresses that occur when a local economy experiences a downturn.
Over the past six years, we have focused most of our work on two particular endeavors: marketing the region and developing amenities that encourage development and job creation in the area. We helped bring the Brenden Theatres to Rifle, produced business attraction packages for the town of New Castle and provided business mentoring in Battlement Mesa and Parachute.
One of our latest undertakings has been to support the research and promotion for the proposed Rifle Recreation and Community Center. This project has been highlighted in this paper and the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. In the near future, I will go into depth about the benefits of this program for the city of Rifle and the surrounding area.
There is an axiom in economic development that says “if a town isn’t growing, its dying.” It would be nice to keep Rifle just like we always remembered it, but when growth is restrained, populations recede, unemployment rises and towns decay. Economic development allows us to work together to constructively diversify and promote a healthy economy for everyone.
Michael Langhorne is the volunteer president of the Rifle Regional Economic Development Corp. and owner of Bookcliff Survey Services in Rifle.
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Carnival rides, best beard competitions, live music and so much more kick-off in Rifle this weekend.