County unveils economic vitality plan |

County unveils economic vitality plan

by Scott Neuffer

A year’s worth of research and planning will culminate Monday night when the Douglas County Economic Vitality Strategy and Action Plan is presented to county commissioners for approval.

Efforts began last September when the county hired economic development consultant Karen Craig to guide the project. In the early months of 2010, Craig sorted through 10 existing plans, ranging from the Douglas County Master Plan to the Gardnerville and Minden plans for prosperity. She then helped compile a database with 900 recommendations both completed and uncompleted.

In July, two months after a public workshop, the county formed the Economic Vitality Division within the County Manager’s Office and reassigned Lisa Granahan as the economic vitality manager.

“The vision of the plan is ‘a community to match the scenery,’ which capitalizes on the county’s greatest asset, ‘our spectacular natural environment,'” Granahan wrote in her staff report. “The plan sets the goal that ‘by 2022, Douglas County will be recognized as the best place to live, work and play because of our community commitment to education, recreation and innovation.'”

After narrowing down key initiatives and available resources, the economic team had an action plan with three focus areas and 12 priority projects.

“What really makes this plan different is that organizations don’t do projects, people do,” Granahan said Friday. “This plan has 12 champions who will be responsible and take ownership of the 12 projects. Some of those champions will be at the meeting, and a few of them will be speaking.”

Granahan said the county is working with individuals “ripe with passion and talent.”

“It’s not an army of Douglas County staff,” she said. “It’s really these champions working to make the plan happen and come to life.”

Without revealing a name, Granahan said the plan will have an overall champion to help staff with implementation.

“This has been one of the board of commissioners’ top strategic priorities in this last year,” she said. “This is that objective coming to a point where the board can take action and adopt it.”

Granahan said the plan provides hope in an otherwise bleak economic landscape.

“So many other governments are just cutting and cutting,” she said. “We have to do that, too, but the focus on the board is not just to eliminate services, but to work on overall community competitiveness, so we can create an improved business climate.”

The first area is distinctive downtowns: Tahoe Revitalization, Minden Momentum, Genoa Destination, and of course Main Street Gardnerville.

The second area encompasses outdoor recreation and lifestyle. Priorities range from year-round trails to Ascent Douglas County – the county’s marketing campaign to attract outdoor recreation manufacturers.

The third area of focus is education and workforce, which calls for maximizing the Western Nevada College campus and establishing a multigenerational community center, among other projects.

A 1-hour presentation of the plan is slated for 6 p.m. Monday in the banquet pavilion of Genoa Lakes Golf Club, after which commissioners will vote on the proposal.