Guest blog post from Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Jay Williams
Since taking office, President Obama and his administration have worked to help communities and regions impacted by natural disasters and major economic challenges respond and rebuild stronger than before.
This week, on a visit to Colorado, I was pleased to have the opportunity to announce two Economic Development Administration investments that support those efforts in two communities.
In Estes Park, a picturesque town located at the entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park, residents are working diligently to rebound from severe flooding that hit them hard as they were preparing for the busy snow season – and the economic tourism boon that comes with it - last fall.
To help the town following the federally-declared flood disaster, I was honored to announce a $300,000 EDA investment to help the Town develop a strategy that will guide their economic diversification and resiliency efforts. One key component of this grant is developing specific actions to make use of Estes Park’s existing fiber optic ring to deliver improved broadband services to the town and surrounding region. By working with other affected communities – including nearby Loveland and Lyons – this strategy will help the region diversify while strengthening their existing established industry clusters.
In Colorado’s central western region, the recent closure of Oxbow Elk Creek coal mine has resulted in a regional economic emergency.
To help the region respond, I announced a $245,000 EDA grant to the Region 10 League for Economic Assistance and Planning of Montrose, Colorado, to help create a strategy that aims to improve and enhance the economic resiliency and sustainability of Delta and Gunnison counties.
Resiliency is critical to economic prosperity: all communities—whether in a position likely to weather significant natural disasters, or struggling to deal with immediate or pending catastrophes—must have or be able to develop strategies that can mitigate an economic downturn and support long-term recovery efforts.
I am proud of the important role EDA plays in helping communities get back on their feet stronger than before.