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February 20, 2004

EDEN working to boost economies

By MARK WAITE
PVT

The Economic Development Authority of Esmeralda and Nye counties (EDEN) is making progress on its goals, Executive Director Allan Parker told Nye County Commissioners Tuesday.

Parker said the organization is now taking in more than three inquiries per day on economic development instead of one per week.

Parker predicted a few major job-creating ventures will be announced this spring. He cited confidentiality agreements in not mentioning any names.

"There are some major, major economic development projects geared specifically for Pahrump. Many of these are multi-year projects, many of these will culminate in hundreds of jobs, maybe thousands over the next 10-year timeframe," Parker said. "I think you're going to see substantial growth in Pahrump over the next couple of years."

Parker was named part-time executive director of EDEN last fall. He is also employed by the Rural Nevada Development Corporation at its Small Business Development Center, above the Nevada State Bank, next to where the EDEN office is located.

Commissioners voted to table a decision on setting up a 501c3 non-profit corporation for EDEN to solicit grants.

Parker said EDEN board member Mary Wilson presented a list of priorities to the commission when making a request for $100,000 last May that are being fulfilled.

Parker said EDEN met with organizations in all but one community in the two-county area; established an Internet site, www.eden-nv.com; is in the process of completing a magazine ad campaign; initiated a quarterly newsletter "Focus"; and plans to have a booth at the business expo April 16-18, the Rural Roundup April 20-23 and the National Rural Conference 2004 April 25-27 in Austin, Texas.

EDEN plans to organize familiarization tours of the area to convention planners, he said. Parker added the Community Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was completed and mailed out; staffing level increased from one full-time person to three; additional office space obtained; and a toll-free phone number installed, 1-888-900-3336 (EDEN).

Some specific projects Parker outlined include helping Round Mountain and Amargosa Valley obtain a bank or credit union; helping Beatty obtain a grocery store; producing economic development brochures with individual town inserts; helping the Tonopah speedway with its insurance costs and helping Goldfield obtain grant funds for videoconferencing equipment.

Nye County Commissioner Patricia Cox, who introduced a separate agenda item seeking firms to develop an economic development brochure, asked Parker what EDEN was doing to market Nye County outside of the county. Parker replied they were promoting the county through the Business Expo, but added, "We are looking for other venues in that regard." He said hopefully the EDEN web site will give the area some visibility and added the organization plans to do direct mailing.

One recruiting angle will be luring businesses here from California, where they pay higher taxes, Parker said.

"Are you identifying the needs of businesses in each community?" Cox asked. Parker said "wish lists" of what communities feel are their most critical needs have been posted on the EDEN web site.

Commissioner Joni Eastley urged someone to proof read the EDEN website to clear up the spelling.

EDEN Administrative Assistant Julia Lawrence said major companies like Bechtel and Allstate Insurance require a 501c3 to make a donation. County Commissioners would approve any application for private grants and the projects under consideration, she said.

Paula Elefante, chairwoman of the Pahrump Regional Planning Commission, said there was a suggestion at an economic development retreat that Nye County form its own foundation.

"Anybody, or any entity, could make a donation to the foundation and the county would be able to use those funds for specific purposes," Elefante said.



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