Region 10 League for Economic Assistance & Planning has released a Request for Proposal (RFP) for professional consulting services in Delta and Gunnison counties.

“We hope to create a broad-based plan for economic diversification in that area,” Region 10 Regional Development Coordinator Jay Stooksberry said. “We intend to start with a blank slate, be very objective, and build a strong market analysis that targets low-hanging fruit–those key industries that we can attract and promote in these counties.”

The goal of the RFP will be to hire a consultant or team of consultants to create a third-party feasibility study, he said, with the intent of moving both counties away from dependence on agriculture, mining and extraction industries by empowering newer industries and a diverse local economy, thus strengthening resiliency in the face of an economic event or downturn.

“Coming together with this kind of broad partnership is rare, and we frankly need more of this activity.” ~Justin Clifton, Delta City Manager

“We know that Gunnison and Delta counties are very different,” Stooksberry said. “They represent the dichotomies present throughout Region 10–from skiing in the mountains to agriculture and mining to high desert rural, they encapsulate our region as a whole. The populations are diverse as well–we are seeing both a young demographic and an aging population of retirees.”

The project has generated funding and support from a wide-ranging spectrum of local municipalities and agencies; community partners include Delta County–which spearheaded the DOLA grant–the City of Delta, Delta County Economic Development, Gunnison County, Western State Colorado University and Gunnison Energy. “Coming together with this kind of broad partnership is rare, and we frankly need more of this activity,” Delta City Manager Justin Clifton said.

“Gunnison County, its municipalities, and major employers are eagerly looking forward to identifying and implementing specific strategies and actions though this economic planning project,” Assistant Gunnison County Manager for Economic and Community Development Russ Forrest said. “This effort will both improve the resiliency of our economy and complement a visioning process that will occur concurrently with the project.”

The resulting feasibility study will be a substantial plan that will facilitate growth, rather than gathering dust on a shelf, Stooksberry said.

The study is funded through an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant supported by funding from the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and from local communities.

The complete RFP is available on the Region 10 web site, at http://www.region10.net/rfp/.