Task force moving forward with economic development efforts

SHERIDAN — Major efforts are underway to revamp the way Sheridan sells its economic development potential to interested members of the national business community.

At a meeting Thursday of the Economic Development Task Force — a group comprised of representatives from various government and nonprofit entities — board members prepped for the launch of a new initiative aimed at leveraging marketing efforts by the task force and Forward Sheridan.

Headed up by Shawn Buckley of SkyTrail Sales and Marketing, the WY Sheridan Works campaign aims to generate an increased number of potential leads for area economic development officials to pursue.

Buckley also serves as the executive director of Sheridan Travel and Tourism.

While still subject to revision and serious overhaul in its early phases, the new strategy will feature an increased focus on online marketing and targeted outreach to potential investors.

Several features, including an interactive blog, are expected to go live early in July.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, a representative of the Downtown Sheridan Association updated members on plans by the DSA to establish a downtown development authority.

A statutory agency focused on downtown economic development, a DDA allows for new avenues to support revitalization and development efforts.

While Wyoming statute requires that DDA proponents collect signatures from at least 25 percent of non-residential property owners within the proposed district in order to bring the plan before the Sheridan City Council, DSA President John Smith said the Downtown Sheridan Association will only pursue the plan if able to generate 50 percent support.

If approved, the DDA would allow for the establishment of a tax increment financing district that, in turn, would allow for a reassignment of downtown-generated tax dollars toward capital improvement projects.

Smith made a point of emphasizing that despite several popular misconceptions, the project would not result in a new tax. Instead, it represents a change in the way existing tax dollars are budgeted.

Other business on the task force’s agenda included a discussion of the upcoming special election to fund the construction of a new tech center at Sheridan College and a slate of recent meetings between Mayor Dave Kinskey and local utilities with regards to the installation of redundant electric power.

About

Paolo Cisneros

Paolo Cisneros joined The Sheridan Press staff in August 2012. He covers business, energy and public safety. A Chicago native, he graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2011.

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