SHERIDAN — About 45 local realtors got a firsthand look at city efforts to enhance public infrastructure Thursday during a guided bus tour through Sheridan.
The event was organized and guided by Sheridan Public Works Director Nic Bateson in conjunction with Mayor Dave Kinskey.
The realtor contingent — a group that represented several local agencies — was taken to various spots around town where major public works projects are either planned or underway.
Riders heard descriptions of initiatives ranging from the eventual city inheritance of the space currently occupied by the North Main Street Interstate 90 interchange to a recently adopted comprehensive plan for East Fifth Street.
While realtors have long participated in weekly tours of newly listed properties, yesterday’s event marked the first time a tour was hosted by city officials.
“My goal was just to give a broader perspective to realtors on the future of development in Sheridan from a public infrastructure perspective,” Bateson said.
In keeping with the rhetoric of local economic development groups, Bateson added that the growth of Sheridan’s economy depends largely on involvement by private citizens and their ability to articulate the community’s vision for the future.
“The more educated they are and the better they can speak about the future of Sheridan, the better off we’re all going to be at acquiring those (economic development) opportunities,” he said.
Dixie See, owner of ERA Carroll Realty Company, said the morning proved invaluable for all in attendance because the real estate industry often demands a strong understanding of existing public infrastructure and related opportunities for improvement.
“I think most of them knew a little about (the city’s efforts), but to see it visually was the important part,” she said.
Among several others, stops on the tour included properties at the High Tech Business Park and the Sheridan Commercial Park — both of which are owned by the Sheridan Economic and Educational Development Authority — and West Fifth Street where a major renovation project is planned.
While SEEDA owns several dozen acres of property intended for potential development projects, representatives of the joint authorities board recently finalized a policy statement that gives priority to private developers.
Per the new policy, developers interested in acquiring SEEDA property must prove they considered privately listed property but that it did not meet their specific project requirements.
Based on the feedback he received following Thursday’s event, Bateson said city staffers are considering hosting a similar tour for representatives of area banks.
Either way, he predicted the city-led real estate tours would continue at a rate of one or two per year.