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Gila EDA Roundtable, Part 2, organization reports

During the community participant reports portion of the Gila Economic Development Alliance Roundtable meeting, organizations told what they are doing and accomplishing.

Arlene Schadel, Grant County economic development coordinator, said she had sent out the schedule of flights from the Grant County Airport to and from Phoenix, which will go into effect Dec. 1.

She attended an International Space Symposium in Las Vegas, Nev., and said the area needs to consider the aerospace industry to support the Spaceport.



"We have contracted with Angelou Economics for site selection for an industrial park," Schadel said.

"I thank you for your support," she said. "My last day is Oct. 31. The Council of Governments will pick up the economic development piece with the Certified Communities Initiative approved for Grant, Hidalgo and Catron Counties."

Mary Alice Murphy gave a very short report on the Fort Bayard Restoration and Development Coalition, saying that it was going forward with its 501c3 application, and that "the check has been cashed."

Mike McMillan, representing Prospectors, said the annual legislative forum where area groups present to the legislators representing the area, is slated for Nov. 30 at the Western New Mexico University Global Resource Center. "The applications are ready to be sent out and will include capital outlay projects this year. Our Prospectors Day in Santa Fe during the legislative session will be Jan. 30."

Kim Clark, Silver City Regional Association of REALTORS®, Inc. executive and government affairs director, said the third quarter 2012 numbers of home, land and commercial sales had improved, with 86 listings sold, as compared to 55 in the third quarter, 2011. "Sixty-nine were residential, with an average price of $120,745, down from 2011. I think we are at the bottom of the sales price drop. Sales now require 20 percent down."

She said land sales doubled, but "we have to get people's confidence back up."

Cissy McAndrew, Southwest Green Chamber of Commerce director, said tourism is flat. "It was up in spring, but we are still getting people calling about smoke. We are working with the state, which is concerned." She announced the Tamal Fiesta would be held Dec. 8, with the Tourism Commission meeting in Silver City at the Murray Hotel on Dec. 7, so they can stay over for the fiesta. "We will have public input at the meeting," she said. "We are also working on new tourist guides and maps."

Sammy Silva of Workforce Connections said on Oct. 24 office would host a training: "Practical Insights for Employers," with information on how to run a business more effectively. It will be at the Grant County Administration Center from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and will include employment law and human rights, with ample time for questions. Using the acronym for the event, pie will be served before the session and pizza pie at lunch.

The office has a link on WNMU's career services page and has training programs that connect with employees, especially veterans.  "We are asking employers to use our assessments, and I really hopes students have that piece in their portfolio," Silva said.

Antonio Solis, also of Workforce Connections, said tax incentives are available for those who hire veterans, especially recently separated veterans.

Silva said training is also available for green opportunities. "We have a wide variety of programs."

Julie Morales, representing WNMU, said Oct. 20 would feature an open house for students to visit with professors and then go to the football game. On Oct. 27, an "In Your Community" event would take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Santa Clara, with a Dia de los Muertos and Halloween theme.

She asked those present to vote in favor of Bond C, from which Western stands to gain $4 million for renovations. "There is no tax increase, but it will benefit the museum, Light Hall auditorium and building, parking and sidewalks. The construction of new residence halls continues."

McAndrew said she was glad to see the university administration seeking bids from local contractors. Morales said President Shepard is committed to working local. "I want to thank Arlene for her work. She is so easy to work with."

Tiffany Knauf, Grant County Community Health Council, announced that the organization had reached its goas of more than 5,000 assessment surveys filled out by county residents. "We now have the highest number in the state. We had 1,800 surveys filled out thanks just to health council members. Priscilla (Lucero) got 450, and Mary Alice Murphy, 360. Forrest Olson had 95 percent of his staff fill out the survey."

"Although we are behind in entering the data, we can still pull data in specific areas," Knauf said. "We will present at Prospectors. In January, we plan to release the profile and can match the data with state and national data. In February, we will have community presentations on what the concerns of residents are, and we will do countywide breakout groups. In May, we hope to have our plan ready. We are the only one that looks at veterans issues."

Tony Trujillo, Gila EDA member, explained the health council is made up of 30 members, representing various sectors of the community. "To get more than 5,000 responses from a county of 29,000 people is unreal. Work now begins on what Grant County is telling us. It is our job to set priorities for what we want to work toward in health and wellness."

Ron Hall, former health council member, said it is one-stop shopping for data.

Trujillo said Freeport McMoRan Copper and Gold Inc. relies on the health council because it "is a voice out there."

Earl Montoya, Silver City resident, said to get 5,000 surveys is "outstanding."

Knauf pointed out that only those older than 18 years of age were eligible to complete the survey. "We still have a few football tickets that we had as incentives, so contact us for tickets. We paid for them. You might as well use them."

The rest of the reports will be in a future article.

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