Colorado Department of Local Affairs awards $793K in Rural Economic Development grants

Colorado News

Cattle rancher Joe Whitesell rides his horse in a field near Dufur, Oregon, as he helps a friend herd cattle. Tiny towns tucked into Oregon’s windswept plains and cattle ranches miles from anywhere in South Dakota might not have had a single case of the new coronavirus yet, but their residents fear the spread of the disease to areas with scarce medical resources, the social isolation that comes when the only diner in town closes its doors and the economic free fall that’s already hitting them hard. (AP Photo/Gillian Flaccus)

DENVER, Colo. –– The Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) awarded $793K to 15 local governments across the state, for projects that support economic resilience and diversification, and job creation and retention. 

Recipients include Craig and Hayden in Northwest Colorado, two communities that face major challenges preparing for the closure of nearby coalmines and coal-fired power plants over the next decade. The intention is to lay a foundation for a sustainable local and regional economic future. 

Funding from the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) program helps counties with less than 50,000 people and communities with fewer than 25,000 people diversify their economy with local projects. Applications must contain plans to create and retain jobs  directly or indirectly  build capacity, create economic resiliency, or support entrepreneurial ecosystems.

“REDI grant projects exemplify the wide variety of strategies from local governments across the state working hard to stimulate their economies,” said DOLA Executive Director Rick M. Garcia.

Awards include $150K to the Town of Hayden for a co-working space to provide education, training, and stimulation of entrepreneurship to area workers within existing and future businesses. 

DOLA also awarded the City of Craig $124K to hire an Economic Priorities Coordinator to enhance Craig’s economic development capacity and lead implementation of regional workforces, housing, transit, business attraction, expansion and retention. This position will lead implementation of the city’s highest priorities.

“The DOLA REDI program is more critical than ever, not only because it helps local communities that are working to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, but because it helps communities prepare for future transitions on their own terms,” said Wade Buchanan, Director of the Colorado Office of Just Transition.

The Department awarded the City of Durango $53K for the launch of the Rural Resiliency & Recruitment program, which consists of the 2021 Southwest Colorado Accelerator Program for Entrepreneurs (SCAPE) and 2021 La Plata County Economic Alliance recruitment effort. These programs bring job creation and economic diversity to the area. The projects build on La Plata County’s Resilience Framework, a planning process completed with the Colorado Resiliency Office within DOLA.

To learn more about the REDI grant program go to cdola.colorado.gov/funding-programs/rural-economic-development-initiative 

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