How often have we heard the phase “It takes a village…”? Obviously, the term has been way overused way too often but as I look at the recent economic development efforts in the community, I am reminded that it truly does take a village…a village of aligned individuals and organizations.
The recent announcement of the relocation of the Bureau of Land Management Headquarters to Grand Junction is a case in point. It was the efforts of elected officials such as Senator Cory Gardner and Congressman Scott Tipton who introduced legislation that elevated the conversation in Washington, D.C. Senator Michael Bennet offered support for the notion. Locally our City Council and County Commissioners led conversations and brought economic developers to the table such as Robin Brown with GJEP and Diane Schwenke with the Chamber. There were letters written, websites developed, economic data presented and strategy sessions conducted with local congressional representatives and ED Partners such as Derek Wagner, CMU, Greg Caton, City of Grand Junction, Rose Pugliese, Mesa County Commissioner and Bonnie Petersen, AGNC. It literally took a village of proponents to make our case for the location of this important federal agency headquarters in our community. And it WORKED!
While some may look at it simply in terms of new jobs to the community here at the Chamber, we are excited about the potential for additional economic activity that the project will generate. Business travel to and from Grand Junction to meet with the BLM Director will result in more commercial airline seats filled, hotel rooms occupied and meals consumed at local restaurants. The increased visibility of having “Grand Junction” in the dateline of press releases by the agency could garner the attention of other entities, public and private, looking to locate facilities and employees in a community with affordable housing and an outdoor oriented lifestyle that can offer mountain biking experiences on your lunch hour. The bottom line is that no one can fully anticipate how this announcement will strengthen our economy in the years to come…but we definitely know it will.
So, what did we all learn from this successful effort? It is important to have a common goal, can do attitude and…oh yah…it also takes a village. Our congratulations to all involved and by all means, keep up the good work! I’m confident this is just one of many efforts that will lead to an improved economy and a better community in the future.
Click here to download the full version of the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce August 2019 Newsletter.