Montrose should help fund economic effort

We’re dismayed to see the city of Montrose pulling $24,000 in funding from the Montrose Economic Development Corp., which is used to pay for the group’s offices. This isn’t the time to sell short on economic development.

It helps that the city will still be willing to put that money toward economic incentives to attract employers to Montrose, but a prospect who qualifies for those funds may never get in the door if the MEDC doesn’t have monies to operate effectively. The return on investment for monies contributed to local economic development organizations is significant and undeniable. Montrose’s decision to cut funds to the MEDC sends a message that it does not care whether the community grows or founders. That is a message western Colorado can ill afford. The fact is that in the economic-development business, as is the case with almost any kind of selling business, the right tools are essential. In the context of economic development, the most important tool is a healthy economic development organization. Not only is staff expertise important, but the community must project to prospects that it is willing to invest in new companies and help grow existing companies.

Prospects drawn to Montrose by the proximity of the San Juan Mountains, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and other natural wonders who find themselves feted in something less than a first-class ED experience may well bolt to Texas or South Carolina, states that have prospered from heavy investment in economic development.

It’s a time in which many companies, especially from states in deep economic straits — yes, we’re talking about you, California — are looking for more welcoming municipalities with many of the assets they enjoy now. Montrose, as well as other western Colorado cities, can fit that bill.

We hope the Montrose City Council reverses course and funds its economic-development council not just for the sake of Montrose, but for the rest of the region.

A rising tide floats all boats. Grand Junction’s economic fortunes are also tethered to those of Montrose.


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