Northwest Colorado Council of Governments (NWCCOG) officials and local residents met with representatives from Smart Growth America on August 8 and 9, 2013 as part of a free, grant-funded technical assistance program. The two-day workshop provided tools and training to assist NWCCOG leaders as they develop strategies for the organization’s new role as a U.S. Economic Development Administration Economic Development District. These strategies will help NWCCOG communities to strengthen their economies while also maintaining the natural environment for which the region is known.
“NWCCOG is very excited about our upcoming Smart Growth America workshop,” said Rachel Lunney, Economic Development and Communications Manager for NWCCOG. “We are a newly-designated Economic Development District, and as such we have asked for assistance with planning for the economic and fiscal health of our member communities. Smart Growth America’s experts will help us advance toward our vision of a robust, diverse regional economy, made up of strong local businesses and jobs that pay well in communities with housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools.”
On August 8, Northwest Colorado residents gathered for an introductory presentation that featured a broad overview of strategies for economic and fiscal health.
In November 2012, the Northwest Colorado Council of Government was one of 22 applicants selected by Smart Growth America to participate in the free technical assistance program. Stretching from Maine to Washington State, these communities represent major cities, suburban centers, and rural towns alike.
The technical workshop program is made possible through a five-year Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities, which seeks to develop local planning solutions that help communities grow in ways that benefit families and businesses, while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place. Three other nonprofit organizations—Forterra, Global Green USA and Project for Public Spaces—also received competitively awarded grants this year to help get the kinds of development they want.