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SHERIDAN — The Sheridan Economic Development Task Force hosted a site selector this week in hopes of becoming certified as a business ready location through the Wyoming Business Council.
The team of site auditors came Wednesday to do a “proof and truth” of the city’s application for site certification compiled by City Planning and Development Director Robert Briggs.
Jay Stender, executive director of Forward Sheridan, said the purpose of the visit was to validate information presented to the evaluators and have any questions answered in order to move on to the next phase of the certification program. The bulk of the tour focused on the technical park in the Wrench Ranch subdivision.
The certification team, which consisted of Heather Tupper of the Wyoming Business Council and Amanda Taylor from McCallum Sweeney Consulting, analyzed infrastructural elements to determine whether Sheridan’s future business sites are “shovel ready.”
The tour was similar to previous mock tours conducted by Janet Ady, a business site selection expert from AdyVoltedge of Wisconsin and Joe Sharkey of TMNG Global. However, this tour wasn’t a dry run — it was the real deal.
The site selector tour constitutes the completion of phase two of the site certification process, and comes with a price tag of $6,500 in Optional One-Cent Sales Tax funding.
Briggs said preliminary feedback from the assessment looks positive, thanks to the extensive preparation that went into the official attempt.
Briggs said Sheridan’s voluntarily participation in the site certification program will hopefully give the community a leg up on the competition when it’s time to attract a business looking to relocate.
“It came up several times that it’s not actually site selection, but site elimination is how the game works,” Briggs said.
“It’s about getting through different filters they’re looking at in the regional and national level to really keep your site in the running as long as possible.”
The certification process also entails compiling data about the community and having it ready to present to a location shopper.
Briggs calls the administrative side of the certification program “building a Bible of information.”
“Their checklist is pretty comprehensive,” Stender said. “The positive thing is the community gets an overall template of the information we need to provide for a light manufacturing company considering expansion. From the deeds to the lot boundaries to the guidelines.”
“The benefit that has for the tech park is we should have our hair combed and be ready to rock n’ roll when somebody comes to look at it,” Stender said.
Stender said McCallum Sweeney is an independent consultant retained by the WBC to assist in the site certification process, but does not have formal endorsements.
The task force will get a comprehensive analysis of the evaluation in the coming weeks along with a recommendation as to whether the city should push forward into the final phase of the certification process.
Briggs said phase three entails completing a level one environmental study, a wetlands determination and a geotechnical investigation. The city has one year to complete phase three, and has already begun or completed many of the processes.
Completion of phase three will cost $11,500.
Also at Thursday’s meeting of the task force:
• Zoila Perry, Forward Sheridan office manager, announced she has received aerial photos taken of the area earlier this summer. After a watermark is added to the photos, they will be free for public use, pending notification of Forward Sheridan.
• Mayor Dave Kinskey announced he will be attending a Data Center World conference in Orlando Sept. 29-Oct. 2. Kinskey’s visit represents an initial push to recruit a small data center after Sharkey gave the go-ahead last month.
Kinskey will man a booth at the expo in hopes of touting Sheridan as an ideal location for a technical company looking for a new base of operations.
• The task force made a formal motion to endorse the upcoming Sheridan Press FAB Women’s Conference via sponsorship not to exceed $2,000.