Gov. John Hickenlooper was joined today by supporters of the Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) to sign legislation (HB14-1241) that continues funding for the program.
"We shouldn't look for ways to stand in the way of smart, responsible business as it develops, rather, we should be by their side -- all over Colorado, but especially in areas that need it most," Hickenlooper said. "This program delivers much-needed funds and technical expertise to rural Colorado communities. REDI supports plans and projects that create jobs, drive capital investment and increase wages to help grow and create economic diversity in rural economies."
The Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT), in partnership with the Department of Local Affairs (DOLA), administers the REDI program, which encourages local governments and businesses to join forces to develop community infrastructure and private facility projects and job training grants.
"We are pleased to work with our partners in the Office of Economic Development and International Trade to find solutions that boost capacity in rural Colorado," said Reeves Brown, executive director of DOLA. "This is an important resource for rural businesses and we're proud to be a part of this effort."
Keith Buhrdorf of TK Mining in Delta, attended the bill-signing today. "REDI helped TK Mining with an important remodel project that is increasing efficiency in our operations," Burhdorf said. "We're proud to be a member of the community in Delta, and thanks to a $50,000 grant we're able to leverage those dollars toward an important $300,000 expansion project."
Other examples of businesses that are thriving in rural Colorado include Eddyline Brewing in Buena Vista. REDI funds will provide a $125,000 grant toward a $1.4 million expansion, which will create 18 new year-round, full-time cannery jobs. Owners Mic and Molley Heynekamp, who moved from New Mexico, located their business in Colorado due to the business-friendly environment. In the future, they plan to expand retail operations with an additional 20-plus positions.
Smirks is a rapidly-expanding agriculture business that provides seeds, nuts and fruit to many popular grocery and natural food powerhouses in Colorado and throughout the United States. REDI is assisting Smirks in repurposing an old vacant correctional facility in Morgan County. In strong public/private partnership with the City of Brush, REDI funds will be used to upgrade industrial park infrastructure to assist in the reuse of the building. Smirks anticipates adding five headquarters positions once the expansion is complete.
REDI has a total grant budget of $2.7 million, of which $530,000 has been awarded. There are currently seven projects under consideration, representing $20 million in capital investment and more than 150 rural jobs. REDI will soon be awarding additional grants.