Thu February 28, 2013

Broomfield EDC Looking To Expand In Already Crowded Economic Development Field

A new economic-development group may form to help recruit companies to Boulder and Broomfield counties.

But with a number of similar groups already serving the Boulder area, what does this new group hope to accomplish?

Erin O'Toole talks with the BCBR's Chris Wood about a new regional economic development group for Morning Edition

Boulder County Business Report publisher Chris Wood says supporters of the idea believe a larger, regional group would be more effective and could play a larger role than current city-focused efforts.

The effort is being led by the Broomfield Economic Development Corporation, which recently approved a plan to pursue a regional strategy that would include all of Boulder and Broomfield counties, as well as the rest of the U.S. Highway 36 corridor.

Interview highlights:

What's driving the push to go regional at this time?

"The Broomfield EDC has undergone a lot of change in recent years. The city of Broomfield, which once provided the primary financial support for the organization, reduced its funding and created its own economic-development department. And the BEDC has had a lot of change at the top, with its third executive director in three years.

So the group’s board of directors has been evaluating what the future holds not only for the organization, but also for the greater Boulder region. And they’ve also noted how industries have evolved and companies and workers move back and forth between communities."

What is the timetable for this effort?

"It will probably take nine months to a year before the Broomfield group completes its work, and organizers say it’s not a done deal by any means. They have to build support for a regional approach, not only with potential investors but also with other city and economic-development groups."

Given that similar programs exist in the Boulder area already, what's been their reaction to the Broomfield overture?

"I’d say that the reaction to the Broomfield initiative is largely a “wait-and-see” approach. They want to hear more about what Broomfield hopes to accomplish, but they also don’t want their own investors siphoned off for the new group. And different cities emphasize different things. Some focus on recruitment, while others emphasize retention."

If the idea moves forward, where would the regional EDC be located?

"That’s a very important question, and a very political one. The current executive director, Mike Kosdrosky, says the group would probably leave Broomfield for a “neutral location.” But where exactly that would be is anybody’s guess."

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