Examining the Better City contracts with the towns and county for economic development

delkMEEKER | A recurring question about the Better City contracts with the county and the towns is how much has been spent thus far, on what, and by whom. What follows is a breakdown of the three contracts and their scope of work thus far.
Each contract is presented with a total, followed by the sources of funding that paid for that contract.

Contract No. 1 (2015) = $75,850
DOLA Grant = $57,725
Town of Meeker = $3,863
Town of Rangely = $3,863
Rio Blanco County = $10,400

Contract No. 1 paid for the assessments, analyses, and implementation plans generated by Better City. Approximately 76 percent of this phase was paid for by the DOLA grant.

Contract No. 2 (’16) = $100,000
REDI Grant = $50,000
Town of Meeker = $25,000
Rio Blanco County = $25,000

Contract No. 2 is for implementation of the suggestions made by Better City. This part of the contract is active through 2016 and the following action steps have been completed or are still in process. The scope of work includes the following steps for the three-pronged plan:
1. Downtown redevelopment (Center for Outdoor Adventure)
—Coordinate and conduct at least one public meeting to refine the concept to obtain public and political support to pursue the major downtown projects.
—Conduct a feasibility analysis that analyzes all aspects of constructing and operating the facility. Analysis will include demand estimates, pricing, costs, and other factors that will be relevant in attracting financial partners and an operator.
—Coordinate with the town and county to select a site.
—Coordinate with the town and local real estate professionals to secure ownership of the site via option agreements.
—Organize and coordinate efforts to establish the necessary strategic partnerships with groups such as the National Rifle Association (NRA), Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Colorado Department of Local Affairs (DOLA) and private foundations.
2. Downtown housing project
—Conduct a feasibility analysis that will determine the demand for new housing and will define the most marketable product type(s).
—Work with local employers to gain access to input and feedback of current and potential employees.
—Coordinate with the town to select a site for the new housing development.
—Work with the town and local real estate professionals to assemble the land via ownership agreements.
—Recruit a developer that has interest and the capability of undertaking the project.
—Work with the developer to obtain architectural drawings and construction bids.
3. Shooting Sports Cluster Recruitment
—Coordinate with the Town and the County to identify industries of interest; Conduct a market analysis to identify and compile a comprehensive list of potential recruiting targets within the industries of interest.
—Work with the Town and the County to identify potential sites for the newly recruited companies.
—Prepare presentation and marketing materials to highlight the benefits of locating a business to Meeker.

Contract Modification No. 1
(2016-2017) = $235,700
Town of Meeker = $117,895
Rio Blanco County = $117,895

(Note: This modification was implemented because the project is moving forward at a faster pace than originally anticipated. Because of the timing, grant funding was not available for this portion of the project.)
The $235,700 contract modification includes the following scope of work:
—Project marketing in the form of aerial photography and a marketing book for the Town of Meeker. This part of the project is already underway. The marketing book will include a conceptual design of the center.
—The website and social media marketing element includes the creation of a promotional and informational website for the Center of Outdoor Adventure (Center). This work will be subcontracted from Better City to a professional firm experienced in website design and online marketing. Additionally, initial creation and set-up of one social account of the town and county’s choice (Facebook, Instagram or LinkedIn) will be facilitated. Town and/or county staff will provide initial support of the social media site, with the site being released to the Center for Outdoor Adventure private business operator, once selected, for ongoing support.
—In order to market Meeker and the Center, well-attended expositions and trade shows such as the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo, the Shot Show and the Great American Outdoor Show will be attended by project representatives, including one representative from Better City and two representatives from the county or town.
—The second element of the scope of work includes necessary pre-development tasks that must be completed in order to begin construction of the Center for Outdoor Adventure. These tasks include establishing an Urban Renewal Authority (URA), creating and structuring the option agreements for the land upon which the Center will be constructed, recruiting an operator for the Center and funding the project.
—An Urban Renewal Authority (URA) must be established in order to properly assemble necessary parcels, and to enable Tax Increment Financing incentives. This process requires time, professional experience and legal assistance to properly structure and create the authority. This element of the scope of work includes activities associated with creating the URA in Meeker, including meeting with taxing entities, structuring the Intergovernmental Agreement, developing the “Redevelopment Plan,” providing guidance to the Town in terms of the steps required to establish the URA, etc. When possible, Better City will produce the necessary documents for the town to use in establishing the URA, including the redevelopment plan and suggested language for the resolutions and ordinances required to establish the URA. The budget items associated with legal fees will be utilized directly by the town to engage legal counsel, and will not be a subcontract through Better City.
—Better City will structure and secure option agreement negotiations with each individual landowner to determine the terms of the agreement including the price of the option, the purchase price, timelines, renewal conditions, etc. Legal counsel will be utilized by the town/URA to provide a final review and approval of the option agreements.
—Better City will identify and actively recruit potential operators, undertaking the coordination of structuring the terms of an operating agreement, and will work with the Town and County to ensure that the public entities’ interests are protected.
—Better City will work with public, private, non-profit and for-profit entities to secure the necessary funding to close the project gap. Better City will coordinate with the town and the county to identify and pursue grants and funding sources. Better City will write, review, and assist in submitting grant applications. In many cases, a public entity will have to be the applicant, but Better City will write the applications and provide them to the public entity for submission. Better City will provide ongoing support and economic and financial modeling services to demonstrate the potential impacts of various funding structures.