(The crowd at last night’s meeting at the Cowfish in Lander. Joshua Scheer photo.)
(Lander, Wyo.) – Lander businessmen Cade Maestas and Mike Lilygren continued their quest to start a new economic development organization last night with a public meeting. The two shared their vision for the future and heard from a number of businesses about concerns and ideas for moving forward.
Roughly 80 to 90 people arrived at the Cowfish to hear the presentation and get involved. Bill Sniffin, co-president of existing development organization LEADER, gave the introduction and spoke of LEADER’s formation during the tough economic times of the 1980s. But since things improved, LEADER has had more of a supporting role. “It’s time to turn this over to people with a dog in the fight and skin in the game,” he said.
The main points the new organization, and the community, should address, Maestas and Lilygren said are: maintain and assist existing businesses, recruit the right new businesses, increase traffic to businesses, and maintain Lander’s community spirit.
They talked about the need to keep the big events that make Lander what it is, as well as increase marketing surrounding those events. There was also discussion of asking business friendly community questions of next year’s election candidates.
“It needs to be altruistic,” Lilygren said of the efforts. He said the focus shouldn’t be around what’s in it for the individuals, but really what’s best for the community as a whole.
One idea to help promote Lander would be for people to start using #LanderWY in online posts.
Infrastructure needs to support existing and growing businesses would also be a focus of the group.
The plan for the organization would be to have a roughly nine-person executive board formed to start meeting in January.
Maestas, Lilygren and others in the audience expressed a desire to keep the greater community, all of Fremont County, in mind moving forward. Maestas said that Riverton’s economic organization, Idea Inc., has expressed interest in partnering on projects in the future.
As a not for profit, the organization would be able to apply for grants for projects; in the long run Maestas and Lilygren hope to find on-going funding streams to support the organization’s projects.
Those interested in participating on the economic development committee, or future subcommittees, are asked to contact Lilygren or Maestas at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
(Read about the first meeting on the topic here.)