Regional Economic Development Partners Aligns with NDC for Greater Gallup
19 Mar 2021
In the summer of 2020, Francis Bee, Executive Director of Gallup Improvement District, (BID), completed a four-day training course with the National Development Council (NDC). In alignment with NDC’s mission, that course inspired him to see tremendous potential for Gallup.
Since 1969, NDC, a national nonprofit organization, has provided training and guidance to communities across the United States and in Puerto Rico. The organization’s mission is to help communities secure funding, and to analyze and execute deals related to economic opportunity and community improvement.
“Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Patricia Lundstrom took that same NDC course,” Bee says. “We met to discuss the merits of working with NDC for both Gallup BID and Greater Gallup EDC. During that discussion, Representative Lundstrom recommended taking a regional approach.”
Though Lundstrom and Bee knew NDC typically worked with larger cities, they contacted NDC management to discuss the merit and the logistics of that collaborative approach. Their bold approach paid off.
“NDC has been working for over 50 years,” says Bee. “I’m not sure if they ever worked with this type of regional collaboration. It is unusual.”
Soon after, Bee spearheaded the Regional Economic Development Partners (REDP) a new alliance made up of Greater Gallup EDC, Cibola Communities EDC, San Juan-Farmington ED and Four Corners ED, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments, and Gallup Business Improvement District. Gallup BID is the fiscal agent for this initiative. Bee is the lead negotiator, organizer, coordinator.
“Having a mechanism for the regional EDO’s to discuss their work in a collaborative manner is very important,” Bee explains. “Our individual communities are rather small. By presenting the region as an economic whole, we have a stronger opportunity to attract new firms to locate in the region. The process requires patience and diplomacy, both forming the alliance and in the ongoing development work.”
Because NDC is a national nonprofit entity, it can incorporate tax-exempt financing into projects and manage the development process with more flexibility and efficiency than the public sector.
Thanks to this innovative multiplayer collaboration, NDC guidance concerning technical know how and capital, as well as the flexibility within the current sources of funding, winning deals are being put together, and there are several exciting major projects in development:
GGEDC is working on the development of several industrial parks. It also has ongoing light industrial projects. Meanwhile, Gallup BID is working on several new development/construction projects: low-middle income housing, market rate housing, a grocery store, and a boutique hotel in addition to ongoing improvements of existing downtown business district commercial buildings.
The overall impact on Greater Gallup will include improving the existing commercial building stock, new construction/development projects, attracting new firms to Gallup, job creation, increased tax revenue to support essential services provided by the City and County. Successfully bringing new firms to the area will attract additional new firms.
In the first year of the venture, NDC will offer training to staff and board members of the economic development organizations (EDOs) on understanding business balance sheets, including reading credit statements, and financing deals, especially in real estate. NDC also will provide expert analysis of various plans and projects of the EDOs. GGEDC Executive Director Patty Lundstrom stated, “The NDC course is a major tool for GGEDC to have in our tool box, to have that expertise.”
“Showing site selectors, private sector firms and local, regional and State Government solid evidence of a can-do attitude towards improving the regional economy and the existence of the necessary framework for collaboration is very important.” says Bee. “It is also important for civic pride and cooperation.”