Our Region’s Challenges

Nearby in this week’s Chamber SmartBrief Weekly you’ll find a story announcing the Chamber’s new Northern Colorado Prospers 5-year strategic initiative. In addition to reading that story, you can go here for more information.

On Friday of last week, Chamber leaders briefed 120 business and community leaders at the Lincoln Center about Northern Colorado Prospers.

The website and case statement document do a good job of explaining the details so I won’t repeat all of that expect to say that Northern Colorado Prospers is a campaign to achieve a stretch goal $3.35M to be spent over 5 years on 4 strategic goals.

What I want to emphasize are the challenges that that money and those goals are intended to address.

First, let’s just say it: it’s great to be Northern Colorado! By most measures and standards, we are doing very well. The economy is chugging along, and we have managed to maintain a first-rate quality of life.

Even so, there are some things that need our attention if we want to maintain our lofty perch. There are 4 specific challenges outlined in the Northern Colorado Prospers case for support document. They are:

  • Transportation congestion, especially I-25. You know from reading my posts here that we are working to get I-25 widened. We are looking at 3 hour trips to DIA and Denver if we don’t get this fixed.
  • Available workers. I’ve also written about this one as I described the talent development plan just released by the Chamber and a coalition of other area partners. The numbers say we have an immediate problem – a shortage of 5,000 to 10,000 workers in Larimer County in the next 5 years – and it will get tighter as the Boomers leave the workforce.
  • Business climate. This is mostly about government. First, the good news is that we have clean, professional local government. It can, however, make it far too difficult for business to grow and expand. Additionally, as local government gets bigger and bigger, the volume ordinances and regulations grows.
  • Retaining and growing our key employers in the face of the above and growing competition. Every one of our key primary employers is a prospect for other communities. That’s a challenge. The opportunity, however, is that most good-paying jobs are created by existing companies staying and growing in place. The challenge here is making sure we stay in regular contact with those employers and have the means to proactively help them stay and grow.

All of this takes support, especially money. So, if you’re inclined to help, we welcome it. Contact me or anyone on the Chamber team.

It’s great to be Northern Colorado. Let’s keep it that way.